When Environmental History Goes Public in China

in Nature and Culture
Author: Na Li1
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  • 1 Department of History, Zhejiang University, China linalarp@zju.edu.cn
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Abstract

This article starts out from looking at what is missing from environmental history in China today, and then goes on to ask a particular set of questions: How does one interpret environmental history with the public? How does one present environmental history in public space? How does one engage with an environmentally conscious public? And ultimately, is it possible to establish public environmental history as a new mode of knowledge? In answer to these questions, it focuses on relationships, including the relationships between nature and culture, the environment and people, and history and memory. Using the dredging history of West Lake in Hangzhou as an illustrative case, it explores nature as material culture, calls attention to the rhetorical power of nature, and argues that environmental history should be interpreted and presented as public memory.

Contributor Notes

Na Li is a Research Fellow and Professor at the Department of History, Zhejiang University. She is Editor for Public History: A National Journal of Public History («公众史学»), and International Consulting Editor for The Public Historian. She serves on the Executive Board for Public History Weekly. She also served on the Board of Directors for the National Council on Public History (2017–2020). Her research focuses on public history and urban preservation. Her first book, Kensington Market: Collective Memory, Public History, and Toronto's Urban Landscape (University of Toronto Press, 2015) investigates ethnic minority entrepreneurs in one of the most diverse neighborhoods in Canada. The Chinese edition was released in 2017 by Shanghai Joint Publishing Company. Her second book, Public History: A Critical Introduction (Peking University Press, 2019) («公众史学研究入门»), surveys key issues in public history. Email: linalarp@zju.edu.cn

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