Monday, November 27, 2023

Dr. Robin Visser and talks on Questioning Borders: Ecoliterature of China and Taiwan at CMU and Pitt, November 30.

Dr. Robin Visser will be in Pittsburgh speaking on her new book, Questioning Borders: Ecoliterature of China and Taiwan, at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh on November 30. The talk at CMU will run from 12:00 to 1:30 pm in 340 Posner Center (map):
Robin Visser is professor and associate chair of the Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She will talk about her new book, Questioning Borders: Ecoliterature of China and Taiwan. Published by Columbia University Press in 2023, the book engages with the intersection of ethnic minorities and environmental studies in modern China from a comparative, interdisciplinary, and global context. The talk will be of interests to a broader spectrum of CMU scholars, such as those who work on environmentalism, ethnicity, postcolonialism, indigeneity, and social injustice.

The title of her Questioning Borderstalk at CMU is “Indigenous Ecological Knowledge in Literature of Inner Mongolia, China.” The following is the abstract of her talk:

Indigenous knowledge of local ecosystems often challenges settler-colonial cosmologies that naturalize resource extraction and the relocation of nomadic, hunting, foraging, or fishing peoples. In this talk, I present findings from my book, Questioning Borders (Columbia UP, 2023), which analyzes relations among humans, animals, ecosystems, and the cosmos in ecoliterature by Han and non-Han Indigenous writers of China and Taiwan. I start by theorizing relationality, indigeneity, and ecological civilization, then present a case study comparing literary works by Mongol and Han writers of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region in China. I argue that Jiang Rong’s best-selling novel Wolf Totem (狼图腾2004) manifests “Hanspace” imperial cosmologies in contrast to the shamanistic cosmologies in Guo Xuebo’s fiction (Sand Burial 沙葬, 1988; Desert Soul 大漠魂1996; Moŋgoliya 蒙古里亚, 2014), which conveys a post-extinction world governed by what Elizabeth Povinelli (2016) terms “geontopower.”
The talk at the University of Pittsburgh's Asian Studies Center begins at 4:00 pm in 4130 Posvar Hall (map).

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