Earth, Water, Power: The Ecology of War in North China's Henan Province, 1938-1950
In the most environmentally damaging act of warfare in world history, Chinese Nationalist armies under Chiang Kai-shek broke the Yellow River’s dikes in June 1938 to block a Japanese military offensive, throwing water control systems into disarray and causing devastating floods that persisted until World War II came to an end. Based on the speaker's forthcoming book, this talk explores the ecological history of the river’s strategic diversion and its aftermath to engage with larger issues related to the interplay between war and the environment.
Micah Muscolino is Associate Professor of History at Georgetown University. His area of expertise is the environmental history of late imperial and modern China. Before coming to Georgetown he taught for two years at Saint Mary's College of California. He spent 2010-2011 as a member of the School of Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ with support from a Mellon Fellowship for Assistant Professors and the National Endowment for the Humanities. His first book Fishing Wars and Environmental Change in Late Imperial and Modern China, was published in 2009. He has recently completed a second book manuscript titled "The Ecology of War in North China's Henan Province, 1938-1950" that investigates the environmental history of World War II and the Chinese Civil War of 1946-1949 by focusing on the socio-ecological consequences of the Nationalist military's strategic diversion of the Yellow River in 1938 and its aftermath.