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POSTPONED- RW Moriarty Science Seminar: Ruth Mostern
March 23, 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Speaker: Ruth Mostern
“Ecology and Empire on the Yellow River.”
This presentation introduces Ruth Mostern’s forthcoming book Yu’s Traces: The Imperial and Ecological History of the Yellow River. The book tells 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 timeframe, 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, it 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 The book combines maps and timelines with historical documents, archaeological information, and environmental science. The talk will describe this novel and interdisciplinary methodology and will include numerous images: maps designed by the author, historical diagrams, and photographs of the Yellow River’s diverse landscapes.