“History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.”
— Mark Twain

Empire and Environment in the Making of Manchuria

Posted: June 5th, 2017 | No Comments »

Norman Smith edits this fascinating deep dive into the notion of Manchuria as China’s great adventurous expanse….Empire and Environment in the Making of Manchuria

This unique and compelling analysis of Manchuria’s environmental history demonstrates how the region’s geography shaped China’s past. Since the seventeenth century, the call of the Manchurian wilderness, with its abundant wildlife, timber, and mining deposits, has led some of the greatest empires in the world to do battle for its riches. Chinese, Japanese, Manchu, Russian, and other imperial forces have defied unrelenting summers and unforgiving winters as they fought for sovereignty over this vast “frontier.”

Until now, historians have focused on rivalries between Manchuria’s colonizing forces. Empire and Environment in the Making of Manchuria examines the interplay of climate and competing imperial interests in the region’s vibrant – and violent – cultural narrative. Families that settled this borderland reaped its riches while at the mercy of an unforgiving and hotly contested landscape.

As China’s strength as a world leader continues to grow, this volume invites further exploration of the indelible links between empire and environment. The role of Manchuria in China’s social and political evolution provides context for understanding how the geopolitical future of this global economic powerhouse is rooted in its past.

Norman Smith is a professor of history at the University of Guelph. He is the author of Intoxicating Manchuria: Alcohol, Opium, and Culture in China’s Northeast and Resisting Manchukuo: Chinese Women Writers and the Japanese Occupation, which was awarded the Canadian Women’s Studies Association 2008 Book Prize.

Contributors: David A. Bello, Blaine Chiasson, Annika A. Culver, Loretta E. Kim, Diana Lary, Kathryn Meyer, Wang Ning, Norman Smith, Ronald Suleski, and Sun Xiaoping.

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