Category Archives: China

M&C Annual Lecture 2016: Prof. Alison Bashford, ‘Malthus & China’

Bashford.M&C Annual Lecture.Poster copy

Thomas Robert Malthus’s Essay on the Principle of Population (1798/1803) is in the process of being thoroughly re-thought. The famous book was a universal history, a world history which sought to demonstrate the principle at work in all places and all times. In this lecture, Malthus’s work on China is analysed: the claims he made, the Jesuit sources he used, and the significance of China’s great population for his principle. China was the counter example to America, I argue. Malthus’s views on China are significant in two current contexts: first, the enduring and difficult relationship between Malthusian ideas and Chinese policy on population; and second, the historiographical conversation on an English-Chinese ‘great divergence’. Assessing China circa 1800, Malthus sat, unwittingly, at the temporal and geographical point of divergence.

 

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Alison Bashford is Vere Harmsworth Professor of Imperial and Naval History, University of Cambridge, and Fellow of Jesus College. She is author most recently of Global Population: History, Geopolitics and Life on Earth (Columbia, 2014) and The New Worlds of Thomas Robert Malthus: Re-reading the Principle of Population (Princeton, 2016), co-authored with Joyce E. Chaplin. She is also series editor of Cambridge Oceanic Histories, with David Armitage and Sujit Sivasundaram.

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Rivers of War and Recreation: Round Table on Global Environmental History.

Micah Muscolino (Oxford) and Marianna Dudley (Bristol) will be our guests at this term’s closing Round Table on Global Environmental History this Friday, December 5th, 14:30 in Arts Building G-20.

All are welcome. Tea will be served, and the event will be followed by drinks.

Round Table Poster War JPEG

Round Table Poster British JPEGMuscolino abstract:

‘Over the past decade, research on the relationship between war and environment has emerged as a vibrant sub-field of environmental history. Based on my forthcoming book on war-induced disasters that in China’s Henan province during World War II, this talk proposes a model for conceptualizing the ecology of war in terms of energy flows through and between militaries, societies, and environments. This framework highlights how efforts to procure and exploit nature’s energy in various forms has shaped the choices of generals, the fates of communities, and the trajectory of environmental change.’

Dudley abstract:

This paper will explore how different recreational groups have developed distinctive understandings of water and watery environments. By exploring a conflict of use that has emerged through the twentieth century (and continues in to the twenty-first) between canoeists and anglers, it will suggest that recreational engagement with place has produced meaningful, and very different, ways of knowing water that speak to broader academic discussions of water, waters, and the notion of a hydrocommons.

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