Mark Frank is an environmental historian of China and the world. He recently finished his PhD in East Asian Languages and Cultures from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and has taught at the University of Illinois and Wesley College. At Yale he will work towards completing his manuscript, “Chinese Colonialism: The Ecology of Assimilation in Republican China and Beyond,” which chronicles the relationship between agrarianism and colonialism along China’s ethnically diverse frontiers between the fall of the Qing empire and the rise of the People’s Republic. This project draws on roughly two years of archival research in mainland China and Taiwan and has been supported by a Fulbright research fellowship and a grant from the American Council of Learned Societies. Mark has begun work on a second book project that examines China’s relationship with the atmosphere from the late imperial era through the early twenty-first century. To date, he is the author of three historical articles on Chinese yak improvement schemes, high-altitude crop experiments, and sedentary-nomadic relations in eastern Tibet during the early twentieth century.
EAST 409, EVST 408, HIST 329J
The Environmental History of East Asia
This course introduces students to the rapidly growing field of East Asian environmental history. Our scope is the interactions of human beings with their environments in China and Japan from antiquity to the present. Most of our class time is devoted to open-ended discussions of readings that are grouped by topic. Most of our readings are of recently published research that challenge earlier understandings of Chinese and Japanese history. Prior knowledge of East Asian history or environmental history is welcome but is not a requirement. The schedule is organized into three units that cover specific themes within East Asian environmental history: (I) The Nature of the State, (II) Plants and Waters, and (III) Human-Animal Relations.