ICS Seminar Series

Event Name
ICS Seminar Series
8 March 2018
11:30 am - 01:00 pm
Parramatta Campus

Address (Room): EZ.G.23

Chinese philosophers and scholars have long argued traditional culture of China is rooted in the harmony between Human and Nature. Beyond Chinese scholarship, however, we are constantly reminded by ecocritics and environmental historians that Chinese civilization has not been as ecological as many would assume. (Shapiro 2001; Elvin 2004; Thornber 2012). How do we make sense of the different understandings of human-nonhuman relationships within Chinese discourses and beyond? Is it possible to find common ground among them? My paper delineates a cross-cultural framework in comparative ecocriticism, by revealing and bridging some of the gaps between ecocritical approaches in Chinese and Western scholarship. It examines the concept of shanshui (山水, literally “mountain and water”) in a range of landscape-themed photography, film and performance, to challenge the long standing ideal of harmony between human and nature, and explore the changing notion of shanshui in the Anthropocene epoch. In what ways can we reframe the Anthropocene geographically, culturally, and temporally, from Chinese perspectives? (Elverskog 2014, Duara 2016) Pushing towards planetary perspectives, how does the emerging Anthropocene discourse facilitate better dialogue between ecocritical thoughts between China and the World? By and large a concept to reflect current ideological thoughts of the time, this paper examines shanshui’s present understanding, representations, material presence and cultural significance in China at the time of the Anthropocene. It is argued that the notion of shanshui has long been defined by the literati elites, yet the Anthropocene marks a time for the Chinese public – the population suffering most directly from environmental degradations and eco-disasters – to redefine the discourse, the narrative, and the understanding of shanshui and human-nonhuman relations through representations and expressions of “shanshui from below”.

Speakers: Kiu-wai Chu

Web page: http://westernsydney.edu.au/ics/events

Name: Simone Casey


Phone: 02 9685 9600

School / Department: ICS