PRC Environmental Tradeoffs: Modern China’S Environment, Science(s) and Landscape

Sponsor: Centre for Chinese Research, Institute of Asian Research, Kwantlen Polytechnic University Faculty of Arts
Place: Kwantlen Polytechnic University Melville Conference Center, 8771 Lansdowne Rd., Richmond, BC
By: S. Harrell (UW), J. Hayes (KPU/UBC), T. Cheek (UBC), J. Friedmann (UBC), T. Kinney (KPU), P. Potter (UBC), R. Hanlon (TRU), P. Thier (UW Vanc), D. Abramson (UW), Z.G. Ye (SPU), D. Glover (UPS), J. Tippins (BERK Conslt), G. Li (UBC)
Type: Conference
Dates: Monday, Sep 21, 2015 to Monday, Sep 21, 2015
Time: 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.


The theme of this conference, “PRC Environmental Tradeoffs: Modern China’s Environment, Science, and Landscapes”, aims to create synergy among Pacific Northwest scholars engaged in environmental studies of China, to explore the relationship between China’s policies/politics, history, and physical environment, and to investigate issues of different effects (social-ecological) at different scales. Three panels will address issues ranging from the effect of environmental impact assessments and NGOs to CAFO policies, earthquake reconstruction to fire, floods and flood control, and the socio-ecological implications of medicinals production to developments in socio-ecological resiliency, ecosystem vulnerability & disasters.

The conference is open to the public and students.

Workshop Schedule

Coffee/Tea & Snacks (8:30am-9:00am)

Opening Comments (8:50-9:00am)

Governance, Policy, and Politics Panel (9:00am-11:45am)
Timothy Cheek (UBC) (Chair/Discussant)
Paul Thiers (WSU Vancouver), Assessing Policies to Promote Biogas Energy on Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations: Lessons from the Clean Development Mechanism in China
Robert Hanlon (TRU), China’s Climate Agenda and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank
Guo Li (UBC), Greening the Dragon: International Environmental NGOs in China’s Environmental Policy Making.
Pitman Potter (UBC), Coordinating Human Rights and Trade Policy in China: The Case of Environmental Protection.

Lunch at KPU Richmond (3rd Floor) (11:45am-12:30pm)

Disasters, Ecosystems and Urbanity Panel (12:30pm-2:45pm)
John Friedman (UBC) (Chair/Discussant)
Ye Zhiguo (SPU), Cities under Siege: Flood in 1931 and the Environmental Challenges of Chinese Urban Modernization
Jack Hayes (KPU/UBC), Fires in the Country, Fires at Home: Scaling and Understanding Rural, Periurban and Urban Fire Policies in Modern China
Dan Abramson (UW), Post-Earthquake Reconstruction in Ethnic Qiang Settlements of the Upper Min River Watershed, Sichuan

History, Economy, and Society Panel (3:00pm-5:30pm)
Tracey Kinney (KPU) (Chair/Discussant)
Stevan Harrell (UW), Intensification, Vulnerability, and Disaster in Chinese History
Denise Glover (UPS), Traditional Medicine Production: Small-scale Benefits, Large-scale Concerns
Jennifer Tippins (BERK Consulting), Considering Scale in Resilience Indicators for Socio-ecological Systems: Lessons from China’s linpan Landscape

Workshop Participants Dinner at Dynasty (after 5:30pm-7:30pm)

Participant Bios

Steve Harrell
Dr. Stevan Harrell is Professor of Anthropology and Environmental and Forest Sciences, and Adjunct Professor of Chinese at the University of Washington. Over the last 40+ years, his research in Taiwan and China has covered topics including family and demography, folk religion, economic development, ethnicity and ethnic relations, rural education, material culture, and more recently human-environment interactions. He currently has two edited books in press with the University of Washington Press: Transformations of Chinese Patriarchy, co-edited with Gonçalo Santos, and Rural China on the Eve of the Communist Takeover: G. William Skinner’s Field Notes from Sichuan, 1949-1950, co-edited with William Lavely. He is at work, sporadically, on a history book tentatively titled An Ecohistory of People’s China.

Pitman Potter
Dr. Pitman B. Potter is Professor of Law at UBC Law Faculty and HSBC Chair in Asian Research at UBC’s Institute of Asian Research. His teaching and research focus on PRC and Taiwan law and policy in the areas of foreign trade and investment, dispute resolution, property law, contracts, business regulation, and human rights. Dr. Potter has published several books, including most recently Assessing Treaty Performance in China: Trade and Human Rights (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2014) and The Legal System of the People’s Republic of China (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2013). He has also published over 100 articles and essays. In addition to his academic activities, Dr. Potter is admitted to the practice of law in British Columbia, Washington, and California (inactive), and serves as a consultant to the Canadian national law firm of Borden Ladner Gervais LLP. Dr. Potter is engaged in international trade arbitration work involving China and is on the panel of arbitrators for the China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission as well as several regional arbitral bodies. He has served on the Board of Directors of several public institutions, including the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada where he is currently a Senior Fellow. He recently chaired the APFC Taskforce Report, “Advancing Canada’s Engagement with Asia on Human Rights: Integrating Business and Human Rights” (2013). Dr. Potter is ordained a Deacon in the Anglican Church of Canada.

Jack Patrick Hayes
Dr. Jack Hayes joined the Asian Studies and History faculty at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in 2013. He is also Research Associate at the Center for Chinese Research in UBC’s Institute of Asian Research. Dr. Jack’s teaching areas at KPU include late imperial and modern Chinese and early modern and modern Japanese history, as well as global and Asian environmental history, Asian religions, tea society and culture in Asia, and Asian film classes. Dr. Jack’s research focuses on environmental issues, fire and climate disasters, ethnic relations, the intersection of Asian warfare and natural ecosystems, and sometimes tourism in western China. He has published a number of articles on Chinese environmental history, most recently on fire ecosystems and Chinese legal history, and wetlands and warfare in Chinese history. His first book, A Change in Worlds on the Sino-Tibetan Borderlands (Lexington/Rowman & Littlefield, 2013) analyzes the social and environmental history of Sino-Tibetan north Sichuan. Dr. Jack is currently working on articles related to climate change, grasslands policy, and western China and fire in Mediterranean/Med-like ecosystems and policy frameworks. He is also completing a manuscript on the fire environmental history of China from the 1600s to contemporary policy. Dr. Hayes also serves on the editorial board and as Assistant Editor (reviews) for the journal Environmental History and Associate Editor (China) for the journal Pacific Affairs. In addition to his academic activities, Dr. Jack has served as a consultant on number of environment and history projects in China and the United States.

Ye Zhiguo
Dr. Zhiguo Ye is currently an assistant professor of history at Seattle Pacific University. She received her PhD in history at the University of Minnesota in Twin Cities in 2010. Her research interests include the socioeconomic and cultural history of modern China, Chinese urban history, and environmental studies. Belonging to the generation who grew up in the reform era and witnessed China’s most remarkable urban revolution, she always wants to understand China’s model of urbanism and its formation from a historical perspective. She is currently working on a manuscript based on her dissertation entitled “Big Is Modern: The Making of Wuhan as a Mega-City in Early Twentieth Century China, 1889-1957.” It examines the city making process of Wuhan out of three independent cities separated by the Yangzi River and its largest tributary. The study aims to historicize the formation of a “big” vision of urban modernity—gigantic and centralized developed along the fifty years of making “Great Wuhan” and how the fascination with “bigness” was shared by both the Nationalists and Communists and ran across time and ideology to even shape urban landscape of China today. Dr. Ye also published a few articles on related topic in both Chinese and English languages, including the most recent ones “Rethinking China’s Model: Contending Perspectives on Chinese Economic Reform and State Governance” published in The Journal of International and Global Studies (Volume 5, April 2014) and “Remapping Chinese Cities: From Empire’s Political Centers to the Battle Field of ‘Trade War’” published in Modern China (March 2016 forthcoming)

Dan Abramson
Dr. Daniel Benjamin Abramson is Associate Professor of Urban Design and Planning; Adjunct Associate Professor of Architecture and Landscape Architecture; and member of the Global Studies, China Studies and Canadian Studies faculties at the University of Washington, Seattle, USA. His degrees include a BA in History from Harvard University; an M.Arch. and M.C.P. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and a doctorate in Urban Planning from Tsinghua University, Beijing. (He is the first American to receive a Chinese graduate degree in urban planning.) He held a Killam Postdoctoral Fellowship at the UBC Centre for Human Settlements in 1998-2000, and was a founding board member and Secretary of the International Association for China Planning (IACP) from 2005-2009. His projects in China include community-based urban neighborhood preservation and revitalization and research on property rights, housing and land policies. Since 2008, including six months as a Fulbright Senior Research Scholar in 2010 and currently as a Visiting Professor at Sichuan University, he has worked on post-earthquake reconstruction projects in ethnic minority villages of the Upper Min River watershed, and rural urbanization planning in the Chengdu Plain/Lower Min River watershed. He has also collaborated with Kobe University on earthquake recovery planning in Japan, and with geohazards scientists and emergency management officials and policy experts to improve earthquake and tsunami preparedness and resilience in the Puget Sound and coastal tribal communities in Washington. He teaches urban and site analysis design; cross-cultural and international field studios in urban design and community planning; and methods of community engagement.

Denise Glover
Dr. Denise M. Glover teaches anthropology and Asian Studies at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, WA, where she has been since 2008. She earned her PhD in anthropology from the University of Washington in 2005 (under Steve Harrell). Her research focuses on issues of ethnic identity and representation, medicine production, and environmental knowledge in the Rgyalthang area (aka Shangrila) in NW Yunnan Province, PRC. She has published various articles and book chapters, was lead editor for Explorers and Scientists in China’s Borderlands, 1880-1950 (2011, University of Washington Press; Steve Harrell, co-editor) and co-editor (with Sienna Craig) of a special issue of the journal Asian Medicine, titled “Conservation, Cultivation, and Commodification of Medicinal Plants in the Greater Himalayan-Tibetan Plateau.” Most recently, she has written about the challenges of cultural relativism with children’s health in the field (in upcoming publication Doing Fieldwork in China…with Kids! Nordic Institute of Asian Studies). She is a Board member and Treasurer for the Society of Ethnobiology, and an editorial board member for the journal Ethnobiology Letters. At the University of Puget Sound her classes include Asian Medical Systems; People, Plants, and Animals; Introduction to Anthropology; Indigenous Peoples; Linguistic Anthropology, and Environmental Anthropology.

Jennifer Tippins
Jennifer L. Tippins holds Masters degrees in International Studies-China Studies and Urban Planning from the University of Washington. Her MUP thesis addressed “Planning for Resilience: A Proposed Landscape Evaluation for Redevelopment Planning In the Linpan Landscape”. She is currently an Associate Planner with BERK Consulting in Seattle.

Robert Hanlon
Dr. Robert Hanlon is a political scientist and consultant whose research explores the links between corporate social responsibility, sustainable development and human rights in emerging Asian economies. He teaches International Relations at Thompson Rivers University and is an associate faculty member in the School of Humanitarian Studies at Royal Roads University. Prior to joining TRU in 2013, Dr. Hanlon served as a postdoctoral research fellow at the Institute of Asian Research, University of British Columbia, for three years. He has taught at theUniversity of British Columbia, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Simon Fraser University and the Royal Military College of Canada. Outside academia, Dr. Hanlon has worked for the Asian Human Rights Commission, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong, as well as the High Commission of Canada in Australia. He holds a PhD in International Relations and Asian Politics from City University of Hong Kong, a master’s degree in Peace and Conflict Resolution from the University of Queensland, as well as a BA in Political Science and Philosophy from the University of Victoria. He has been a visiting scholar at the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies (Oxford), the Liu Institute for Global Issues (UBC), the Sasin Graduate Institute of Business Administration (Chulalongkorn), and most recently the Balsillie School of International Affairs in Waterloo, Canada

Paul Thiers
Dr. Paul Thiers received his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Oregon in 1999. He is now an Associate Professor of Political Science at Washington State University’s Vancouver campus where he teaches comparative and environmental policy and directs the undergraduate and graduate programs in Public Affairs. His research focuses on connections between globalization and local environmental governance with specific regional emphases on rural China and the US Pacific Northwest. In China, projects have focused on Chinese pesticide policy, China’s integration into international organic food markets and China’s bioenergy and climate change policy. In the Pacific Northwest, he is part of the NSF Portland-Vancouver ULTRA-EX project, a multi-institutional and multidisciplinary research effort looking at environmental governance across a politically bifurcated ecological region. The core research question for Dr. Thiers is how biophysical systems interact with social systems on local, regional and global scales.

Guo Li
Guo Li is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Political Science at the University of British Columbia. Her research fields are comparative politics and politics theory, with a focus on public participation in environmental politics in China and China’s civil society development.

Since joining UBC, Li Guo has participated in a range of research programs including Professor Mark Warren’s Deliberative Democracy research, Canada-China joint program in China’s Charity Law Development, as well as China’s GMO and bio-diversity politics and policy in Professor Yves Tiberghien’s global governance research projects.

Timothy Cheek
Dr. Timothy Cheek (齐慕实) is Professor and Louis Cha Chair in Chinese Research at the Institute of Asian Research and Department of History, UBC. His research, teaching and translating focus on the recent history of China, especially the role of Chinese intellectuals in the twentieth century and the history of the Chinese Communist Party. Currently pursuing three projects: Contemporary Thought and Society in China: The ideas, debates, writings, and roles of intellectuals in contemporary China with a focus on “certified knowledge” and institutions of intellectual life. Most of my graduate supervision focuses on this topic. My recent papers and articles have been in this area. Mao Zedong: Translating and editing Mao texts with Stuart Schram for vol. VIII of Mao Zedong’s Road to Power, being the complete works of Mao in English for 1942-1945; also edited A Critical Introduction to Mao (2010). Thinking about Chinese Thinking (反思中国思想) An interdisciplinary project to coordinate the disciplines of history, social psychology, and political theory in the study of Sinophone discourse about public issues and ideologies, such as liberalism. Recent publications include: The Intellectual in Modern Chinese History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015), Mao’s Road to Power: Revolutionary Writings, 1912-1949, Vol. VIII, co-editor with Stuart R. Schram (London: Routledge, 2015), and “Chinese Socialism as Vernacular Cosmopolitanism,” Frontiers of History in China, vol. 9:1 (March, 2014), 2-28.

John Friedmann
Dr. John Friedmann is Professor Emeritus in the School of Public Affairs at UCLA and Honorary Professor in the School of Community and Regional Planning at UBC. He was founding professor of Program for Urban Planning in the Graduate School of Architecture and Planning at UCLA, and at various times between 1969 and 1996 served as its head for a total of 14 years. In 1988, he received the American Collegiate Schools of Planning Distinguished Planning Educator Award. International recognition for his achievements includes Honorary Doctorates from the Catholic University of Chile and the Technical University of Dortmund, Germany. His publication record includes 15 individually authored books, 11 co-edited books, and more than 150 chapters, articles, and reviews. Prior to coming to SCARP, Friedmann was a Professorial Fellow in the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning of the University of Melbourne (1998-2001). His current research is on urbanization processes with special reference to China. His most recent books include Empowerment: A Theory of Alternative Development (1993), Cities for Citizens: Planning and the Rise of Civil Society (with Mike Douglass) (1996), The Prospect of Cities (2002), China’s Urban Transition (2005), and Insurgencies: Essays in Planning Theory (2011).

Tracey Kinney
Dr. Tracey J. Kinney graduated with a Ph.D. in Nineteenth Century German History from the University of British Columbia in 1997. Her research focused on the Young German movement, looking in particular at the intersection of literature, censorship, and political development during the Vormärz era. Her dissertation is entitled, “Challenging the Myth of ‘Young Germany’: Conflict & Consensus in the Works of Karl Gutzkow, Heinrich Laube, Theodor Mundt, and Ludolf Wienbarg”. Her sub-fields included the social & cultural history of the 20th Century United States and modern Chinese peasant movements. In recent years Tracey’s teaching interests have expanded into such topics as the role of textile production in global history and, most recently, food in global history. She will begin her second consecutive term as Chair of the History Department and her first term as Coordinator of the Asian Studies Program in Fall 2015.

She is the author of Conflict & Cooperation: Documents on Modern Global History (OUP), 4th Edition, forthcoming 2017, and co-author of The Twentieth-Century World: An International History, with William Keylor & Jerry Bannister (OUP), 2nd Canadian Edition.