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Lectures and Panels

Speaker: Shellen Wu, Associate Professor, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Moderated by: Eugenia Lean, Director, Weatherhead East Asian Institute; Associate Professor of Chinese history, Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, Columbia University

Professor Wu will offer a book talk on her book Fueling China’s Entry Into the Modern World Order, 1860-1920. She will discuss the challenges of writing about late Qing science in a global context including issues of sources and conceptual questions including how to move beyond certain preconceptions/misconceptions about science when studying science in China.

About the speaker: Dr. Wu is particularly interested in imperialism, the global ascendance of science, and how changes in the uses and exploitation of natural resources affected the modern Chinese state and society. Her first book, Empires of Coal: Fueling China’s Entry into the Modern World Order, narrates the history about how Chinese views of natural resource management underwent a major change as a result of the late Qing engagement with imperialism and science. Each chapter addresses a different facet of this change in worldview and as a whole demonstrate that by the end of the nineteenth century China and the West had converged in a crucial measure of modern, industrialized states: the theory and exploitation of natural resources, particularly fossil fuels. Part of Dr. Wu’s research on the German geographer Ferdinand von Richthofen and his China expeditions appeared in the American Historical Review. “The Search for Coal in the Age of Empires: Ferdinand von Richthofen’s Odyssey in China, 1860-1920,” The American Historical Review, Vol. 119, No. 2 (April 2014), 339-362. She is currently working on a second book on the rise of geopolitical discourse in twentieth century China. Her book project traces the historical roots of geopolitical discourse in China and connects Chinese geopolitical concerns to the global circulation of ideas on agricultural development, land settlement, and frontiers. For the 2016-2017 academic year, Dr. Wu is the Pforzheimer Fellow at the National Humanities Center.

Friday, September 13, 2019
12:00 PM-1:30 PM
International Affairs Building, Room 918
No registration required.
For press inquiries, please contact Ariana King at ak4364@columbia.edu

This event is organized by the Weatherhead East Asian Institute at Columbia University.

Event Contact Information: 
Athina Fontenot