The Wood Age in Asia Connection and Comparison in Forest History

The Wood Age in Asia Connection and Comparison in Forest History

Friday, September 21, 2018 - 2:00pm to Sunday, September 23, 2018 - 2:00pm
Department of Anthropology See map
10 Sachem Street
New Haven, CT 06511

This conference will bring together scholars of South, Southeast, and East Asia for a discussion framed by the concept of a “wood age.” We will consider both the centrality of wood to material life in the premodern world and the changes brought by the industrialization of the forest. Using perspectives from social and cultural history; archeology and paleoecology; and the histories of art, architecture, science, and medicine, this conference will address the wide range of ways that people interacted with woodlands. These dialogues will help move forest history beyond the early focus on deforestation while offering an environmental critique of Asian history and correcting the current Eurocentric bias of forest history.

The conference will feature panels on the interactions between forests, wood, and six critical topics in Asian contexts: changing landscapes and patterns of land-use; the relationship between states and forests; knowledge regimes and ritual practices; colonialism and nationalism; borderlands and frontiers; and the link between governing institutions and specific sylvan species. Three distinguished scholars have been invited to frame our dialogues through an introductory address and keynote panel. We will conclude with a roundtable of experts to further comment on the implications of this research for other regions and disciplines. Altogether, we hope the conference will not only bring together interdisciplinary scholarship on Asian forests but also reexamine and recontextualize the basic concepts, terms, and records that form the basis of forest history, to establish the contexts for cross-cultural and diachronic comparisons.​

Full conference information is available here.

An interdisciplinary international conference supported by a grant from the American Council of Learned Societies Program on Comparative Perspectives on Chinese Culture and Society, funded by the 

Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange

Additional funding from

The Edward J. and Dorothy Clarke Kempf Memorial Fund, MacMillan Center, Yale University

with the support of the following Yale Programs and Councils at the MacMillan Center, Yale University

The Council on East Asian Studies

The InterAsia Connections Program

The South Asian Studies Council

The Council on Southeast Asia Studies

The Program in Agrarian Studies

and with support from

The Department of Anthropology, Yale University


Bradley Camp Davis

Brian Lander

John S. Lee

Ian M. Miller

Kalyanakrishnan Sivaramakrishnan

If you are an invited conference participant and already have a password, please click on this link Wood Age Papers to access the papers. If you have misplaced your password, please email

China, Japan, Korea, Transregional, South Asia, Southeast Asia