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Pomona College Lecture on "China's Early Modern Environmental History"

Historian Robert Marks will speak on “China’s Early Modern Environmental History” on Friday, Nov. 16 at 3 p.m. at Pomona College (Pearsons Hall Room 101, 551 N. College Ave., Claremont).

A professor at Whittier College, Marks teaches Chinese, Japanese, East Asian and world history, examining the historical relations between humans and the environment. His most recent book, China: Its Environment and History (2012), provides a comprehensive history of China from prehistory to the present, focusing on the interaction of humans and their environment, illuminating the chaos and paradox inherent in China’s environmental narrative and demonstrating how historically sustainable practices can, in fact, be profoundly ecologically unsound. He argues that all of humanity has a stake in China’s environmental future.

CHOICE said the book presents “the parallel story lines of episodic and long-term ecological damage and the equally long-term success of the Chinese agricultural system…[Marks] very capably sifts through the immense secondary literature on Chinese social, political, economic and environmental history to present a very useful synopsis of the state of the field.”

His other books include The Origins of the Modern World — A Global and Ecological Narrative from the Fifteenth Century to the Twenty-first Century (2007) and Tigers, Rice, Silk, and Silt: Environment and Economy in Late Imperial China (1998), which was featured in the New York Historical Society’s “Books That Matter” campaign in 2008.

Marks served on the AP World History Development Committee and as director for the California World History Association. He is on the editorial board of the journals Environment and History, Nature and Culture and Oecologie.

For more information, email Samuel Yamashita: syamashita@pomona.edu.

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