From Eco-threat to Green Leader: Narratives of China's Environment

Speaker: Elizabeth Lord, An Wang Postdoctoral Fellow, Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies

This talk aims to unpack dominant narratives about China’s environment, including the discourse of crisis, the idea that growth brings environmental protection and the potential that China can act as an environmental ‘vanguard’ at the international level. By analyzing how each of these narratives spatialize China’s environmental issues, the objective is to unpack their assumptions and their geopolitical implications. These narratives show that environmental questions increasingly serve as a platform to ‘re-orientalize’ China, or construct China as an environmental ‘other.’

Elizabeth Lord is an An Wang Postdoctoral Fellow at the Fairbank Center. Her research seeks to understand China’s contemporary environment, examine the relationship between environmental change and inequalities, and theorize the production of environmental knowledge, particularly in China. During her time at the Center, Elizabeth will research the environmental narratives of China. She will evaluate the assumptions and implications of environmental narratives, including those produced in China and outside of China.