Taming Tibet: Migration, Development, and Landscape Transformation

Thursday, November 5, 2015 - 5:00pm

Professor Emily Yeh speaks at MIT

Global Borders Research Collaborative in MIT Global Studies and Languages presents:

Thurs., Nov. 5, 2015
Rm. 4-163 • 5:00 PM

Emily Yeh, Professor of Geography, UC Boulder

Taming Tibet: Migration, development and landscape transformation

The violent protests in Lhasa in 2008 against Chinese rule were met by disbelief and anger on the part of Chinese citizens and state authorities, perplexed by Tibetans' apparent ingratitude for the generous provision of development. In this talk, based on Taming Tibet (Cornell UP, 2013), Yeh will examine how Chinese development projects in Tibet have served to consolidate state space and power. Drawing on sixteen months of fieldwork between 2000 and 2009, she will trace the transformation of the material landscape of Tibet between the 1950s and the first decade of the twenty-first century, arguing that these transformations advance the project of state territorialization. In particular, she will focus on three key moments of development: agrarian change, Chinese migration, and urbanization.

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Emily Yeh's research interests are on questions of power, political economy, and cultural politics in the nature-society relationship. Using primarily ethnographic methods, she has conducted research on property rights, natural resource conflicts, environmental history, development and landscape transformation, grassland management and environmental policies, and emerging environmentalisms in Tibetan areas of China. In 2015, Yeh was awarded the E. Gene Smith Book Prize on Inner Asia from the Association for Asian Studies for her book,Taming Tibet: Landscape Transformation and the Gift of Chinese Development (Cornell University Press), which examines how Chinese development projects in Tibet served to consolidate state space and power.