Chinese Ecologies: An International Symposium on the Environment and Indigeneity
On April 6-7, scholars and students convened at Harvard University to discuss the intersecting concerns of the environment and indigeneity. Scholarly disciplines represented include Chinese and comparative literatures, history, geography, social science, and folklore. Invited scholars also came from a wide range of institutions, including Stanford, Rhodes College (Tennessee), the Ohio State University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Bard College at Simon’s Rock, Northwestern, Boston College, and the host institution. The symposium also included two keynote presentations. The first was a conversation between PRC writer Chen Qiufan and Professor Mingwei Song of Wellesley College, concerning Chen’s first full-length novel The Waste Tide (soon to be released in English translation). The second keynote featured Dong-hwa University professor and renowned writer Wu Mingyi, who talked about his forthcoming novel and his creative process. Both were well attended and followed by engaging question-and-answer sessions.
The conference proceedings were divided into five presentation panels and one debut film screening. The panels consisted of the following themes: “Articulating the Polemic of the Anthropocene,” “Environment and Indigeneity in Taiwan,” “Indigenous Practices from within the Sinosphere,” “Geopolitics and the Environment,” and “Ethnic Articulations of Tradition in Modernity.” Panel presentations were followed by lively discussions that probed the meanings of “the environment” and “indigeneity” themselves, as well as the more practical aspects of managing these at times conflicting interests in the real world. The film screening represented the North American debut of director Wang Xuebo’s newest film, Knife in the Clear Water, which was boasted a lively discussion of scholarly and public participants concerning the place of Sufi and Hui practices in the PRC today.