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Moriarty Science Seminar: Ecology and Empire on the Yellow River
September 14, 2020, 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm
R.W. Moriarty Science Seminar Presents: “Ecology and Empire on the Yellow River”
Speaker: Ruth Mostern
Introducing Ruth Mostern’s forthcoming book Yu’s Traces: The Imperial and Ecological History of the Yellow River, a book telling a five-thousand-year history of the relationship between people, water, and sediment in the Yellow River basin of North China. This is a macroscopic book, covering a very long time frame, it reveals how gradual changes–for instance in climate and population–intersect with sudden cataclysms (such as wars and floods) in the history of the river.
Interweaving the history of the river’s moist floodplain with that of the erosion region in the semi-desert Loess Plateau hundreds of miles away, Mostern demonstrates that social and political transformations can have unintended ecological consequences very far away from the locations where they transpire. The book combines maps and timelines with historical documents, archaeological information, and environmental science. Mostern will talk about her novel and interdisciplinary methodology.