Geographer and conservationist Chris Coggins, professor of Asian studies and geography at Bard College at Simon’s Rock, was the guest speaker at the Tanaka Asian Lecture Series on Sept. 22, delivering the talk, “China’s Fengshui Forests: and the Lineage Village Landscape.”
“Chris’ work on fengshui forests in China lies at the intersection of ethnography and ecology, geography and dendrology, Environmental Studies and Asian Studies. His work, which has relied on and benefited from numerous undergraduate research assistants and students, shows just how important it is to approach environmental issues like forest biodiversity from an interdisciplinary perspective,” says Associate Professor of Environmental Studies and Chair of the Asian Studies Department Darrin Magee.
Magee is optimistic that Coggins’ talk was impactful. “My hope is that his presentation inspired students of Asia to explore environmental studies, and students of the environment to explore Asian Studies. There are real opportunities for cross-pollination in these two fascinating areas.”
At Bard, Coggins has led study abroad trips for students and faculty to China in order to do intensive field research. He has published multiple scholarly works in geography, environment and Asia-related books and periodicals, including his most recent edited collection, “Mapping Shangrila: Contested Landscapes of the Sino-Tibetan Borderlands” through the University of Washington in 2014.
The Tanaka Asian Studies Lecture Series is funded by the Tanaka Memorial Foundation. Since 1992, the Foundation has been a major contributor to the education and intellectual growth of both faculty and students on the HWS campus.
The event was coordinated by Magee, who joined the HWS faculty in 2008. He has authored a number of articles on China’s water and energy and has presented his work at conferences and institutes throughout the world, including Oxford University, the University of Colorado and the National Youth Science Foundation. He has also served as a fellow of the prestigious Rocky Mountain Institute, which seeks to develop the plan for China’s energy future.