David Pietz

Dr. David Pietz, Regents Professor of History, University of Arizona

Monday, May 1,


Koffler Great Room, and Zoom


Environmental concerns have not necessarily been foremost in modern (20th century) Chinese culture. Indeed, one might argue that such concerns typically have been at the bottom of the list. Is the environmental history of modern China one of consistent indifference and negligence? Exploration of this question is broad-based, including Chinese philosophy, history, science, economy, sociology and culture.

Dr. Pietz will focus on conservation regarding animal life, specifically the extinction of Yangtze Baiiji Dolphin and subsequent conservation efforts of the Yangtze Finless Porpoise.  He will share his current research, addressing specific questions such as:  How did animal life fit into Chinese world views? How is the notion of extinction mediated by cultural context? To what degree is conservation laden with cultural meaning and values? How was animal life perceived during the Maoist period? How was the science of conservation biology (re) conservation efforts fit patterns of bureaucratic behavior in China? How has the term “biodiversity” been adopted by different social constituencies in China during the post‐Mao era? 

Dr. Pietz is an environmental historian of modern China, with a research emphasis on water. His research on the environmental history of modern China has been supported by grants from the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Mellon Foundation, the American Philosophical Society, the Institute for Advanced Studies (Princeton), the Carnegie Foundation, and the Guggenheim Foundation. He teaches several courses, including Modern China, Modern East Asia, East Asian Environmental History, Introduction to the Study of History, and Dimensions of Globalization.

Compiled and Edited by Diane Ashton, Academy Village Volunteer

You can connect to Zoom either by using the following URL: https://zoom.us/j/95456511620?pwd=OC9GcnJRNmJpMTdXdXFhaUpCUkx4QT09 or by opening a browser to zoom.com/join and typing in Meeting ID: 954 5651 1620 and Passcode: 85747 

May 1: “Death and Life on the Yangtze: Environmental Change in Modern China”