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Indigenous Knowledge of Local Ecosystems in Fiction of Inner Mongolia

Wed, Nov 14, 2018    2:30pm

Robin Visser
Associate Chair & Director of Undergraduate Studies Department of Asian Studies, The University of North Carolina

Recent studies show how indigenous knowledge can subvert (legally) or salvage (in the ruins of) transnational corporate interests, yet the efficacy of indigenous knowledge in stemming environmental degradation remains highly contested. In this talk Professor Visser analyzes works by three contemporary eco-writers of Inner Mongolia to explore dynamics between indigenous knowledge of local ecosystems and Beijing’s promotion of ecological civilization. She argues that even while this literature raises environmental awareness, indigenous perspectives can also be strategically appropriated to strengthen control over historically contentious national minorities.

Robin Visser is Associate Professor and Associate Chair of Asian Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her book, Cities Surround the Countryside: Urban Aesthetics in Postsocialist China (Duke UP, 2010), analyzes Chinese urban planning, architecture, fiction, cinema, art and cultural studies at the turn of the twenty-first century. She received a 2017-18 National Humanities Center Fellowship to support research on her current project, Bordering Chinese Eco-Literatures. She has published articles on Chinese and Taiwanese literature, film, and cultural studies, serves as Chief Co-editor of the Chinese-language Journal of East Asian Humanities《東亞人文》and is editorial board member of Journal of Urban Cultural Studies.

2018-2019 Policy and Society in Contemporary China Lecture Series, cosponsored by Weatherhead East Asian Institute and the China Center for Social Policy, and supported by CSSW and GSAPP