On April 6-7, 2016, with support of the LIASE grant, the College hosted Julie Sze, Professor of American Studies and Director of the Department of American Studies at UC-Davis. Professor Sze gave a public lecture on environmental justice in China and also spoke with a faculty colloquium about the connections between the 2010 Shanghai Expo and environmentalism in China. The material for Prof. Sze’s discussion was based in research conducted for her 2015 book Fantasy Islands: Chinese Dreams and Ecological Fears in an Age of Climate Crisis.
A description of Fantasy Islands from the publisher website:
“The rise of China and its status as a leading global factory are altering the way people live and consume. At the same time, the world appears wary of the real costs involved. Fantasy Islands probes Chinese, European, and American eco-desire and eco-technological dreams, and examines the solutions they offer to environmental degradation in this age of global economic change.
Uncovering the stories of sites in China, including the plan for a new eco-city called Dongtan on the island of Chongming, mega-suburbs, and the Shanghai World Expo, Julie Sze explores the flows, fears, and fantasies of Pacific Rim politics that shaped them. She charts how climate change discussions align with US fears of China’s ascendancy and the related demise of the American Century, and she considers the motives of financial and political capital for eco-city and ecological development supported by elite power structures in the UK and China. Fantasy Islands shows how ineffectual these efforts are while challenging us to see what a true eco-city would be.”