2012 Half the World Symposium – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

2012 Half the World Symposium

More than a dozen experts will converge on campus to discuss human-environment relations in Asia, spanning from Japan and China to Uzbekistan and Cambodia, during the fourth “Half the World: Environment, Culture, and Sustainability in East Asia” Symposium March 2 and 3 at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. The symposium will focus on matters such as globalization and ecology, sustainability efforts, and other important topics from a range of humanistic, social and scientific perspectives.  Hobart and William Smith Colleges have hosted the event on a biennial basis since 2006, with generous funding from the Henry Luce Foundation and the Freeman Foundation.

Keynote speaker Judith Shapiro, of American University, will lead-off the symposium on Friday, March 2. Shapiro serves as director of the Dual Degree in Natural Resources and Sustainable Development at the School of International Service at American University. She is the author of “Mao’s War against Nature” and has co-authored numerous books on China including, “Son of the Revolution.” Her latest book, “China’s Environmental Challenges,” will be available in fall 2012.

Scholars whose work closely examines the human-environment interactions in Asian contexts were called upon to submit proposals for the conference. The organizing committee received abstracts from presenters around the country, each hoping to share his or her unique perspective on Asia’s environment. Speakers from the U.S. will also be joined by Tao Hu, a scholar from China’s Qingdao University of Science and Technology and a consultant to China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection. This is Hu’s second visit to HWS.

This year’s presentations will feature examinations of paradise and its portrayal in Japanese literature, the function of ecology in Islam and the role that business plays in post-Fukushima Japan sustainability efforts. Other topics encompass themes of energy, water, forestry and fire.

Speakers include distinguished representatives from a variety of institutions. Presenters include former HWS faculty member Bahar Davary, of the University of San Diego, who will speak on “Ecology and Islam: The Case of South East Asia;” Setsuko Matsuzawa, of the College of Wooster, whose talk will focus on “Environmental Activism in China: Citizen Engagement and its Dynamics;” Neal Keating, of SUNY Brockport, who will present “From Spirit Forest to Rubber Plantation: The Accelerating Disaster of “Development” in Cambodia;  and HWS parent Patricia Glibert P’05, P’09, P’12, of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Sciences, who will deliver a lecture on “Nutrient Pollution and Toxic Algal Blooms.”

The symposium will conclude on Saturday, March 3, at 4:15 p.m. with a time of reflection from HWS Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies Darrin Magee, the event organizer, and Luce Environmental Studies Postdoctoral Fellow Robin Lewis.

With continued funding from the Henry Luce Foundation, the symposium began in 2006 and is a part of the Colleges’ exciting Asian Environmental Studies initiative. All papers presented at this year’s symposium will be considered for publication in a special spring 2012 issue of ASIANetwork Exchange: A Journal for Asian Studies in the Liberal Arts, a peer-reviewed journal which focuses on Asian environments. Magee will edit this special issue with Lisa Trivedi and Erin McCarthy, editors of ASIANetwork Exchange.

Additional information on the symposium – including a full schedule – can be found at: http://www.asianenvironmentalstudies.net/p/half-world-2012-symposium.html

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