Asian Environmental History: The Transnational Perspective

Saturday, January 8, 2011: 3:10 PM
Room 207 (Hynes Convention Center)
Peter C. Perdue , Yale University, New Haven, CT
Many studies in environmental history focus on regional or national scales, but nature, of course, does not observe political or economic boundaries. New trends in historical study emphasizing transnational perspectives have developed from traditional diplomatic history, but few take environmental considerations into account. Some studies of global commodity chains cross many national boundaries, but often do not root the commodities in the ecology of their production sites.  This paper argues that we need to link these approaches together by following important global commodities from their production sites across trade networks to their consumption sites, while paying attention to the environmental effects of production, trade, and consumption along the way. I will illustrate this approach with examples drawn from recent Asian environmental history, including the history of tea and fish.
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