Hobart and William Smith Colleges host the third biennial Half the World symposium
HWS will host the third biennial Half the World symposium, established in the spring of 2006 through collaboration between the Asian Languages and Cultures Program and Environmental Studies Program. Assistant Professor Darrin Magee is particularly excited about the symposium series: his position in Asian Environmental Studies grew out of the momentum of the first symposium.
“Hobart and William Smith Colleges are cutting-edge in trying to combine, on a more than course-by-course level, the teaching of environmental studies and Asia,” says Magee. The symposium began as an attempt to institutionalize the study of Asia and the environment, recognizing that Asia is home not only to half the world’s population, but also to important cultural and technological heritage and innovation.
Funded by the Freeman Foundation, the symposium was reprised in 2008, and now Half the World returns to HWS on Friday, Feb. 26 and Saturday, Feb. 27, exploring the resource and environment challenges countries and peoples in East Asia have been facing, as well as the responses undertaken by governments, non-governmental organizations and other groups to tackle those challenges. Themes to be addresses include energy (conventional and renewable), water resources, economic development, pollution, institutions, and teaching about Asian environment and energy issues.
“Half the World is meant to be an informal discussion and knowledge exchange about issues of concern, regionally and globally, from a variety of disciplinary viewpoints, each of which has some specific contribution,” says Magee.
Visiting speakers at this year’s symposium include John Flower (University of Virginia /Sidwell Friends School), Joseph Hannah (University of Washington / Seattle University), Andrew Mertha (Cornell University), Christine Boyle (UNC-Chapel Hill), and David Pietz (Washington State University). Their talks will cover a variety of topics, mostly related to China, including energy policy, historical water management institutions, garbage politics, and more.
Along with professors Phil Brown (Colby College), Bryan Tilt and Desiree Tullos (both at Oregon State University), Magee will present on a National Science Foundation-funded projected titled IDAM (Integrated Dam Assessment and Modeling), an interdisciplinary project aimed at assessing and visualizing the geopolitical, socioeconomic and biophysical impacts of dam construction in China and around the world.
Presentations will begin at 1:30 p.m. on Friday and 9 a.m. on Saturday and will be held in the Geneva and Sanford rooms of the Warren Hunting Smith Library.
In the past, the series has been a highly successful forum for engaging students, faculty and interested community members in discussions surrounding energy and environment issues in Asia and elsewhere around the world. Half the World is free and open to the public. All are encouraged to attend.