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Nature and Critique of Modernity in Shen Congwen: An Ecocritical Reading

Date and Time: 
Thursday, February 21, 2019. 06:00 PM - 08:00 PM
Meeting Location: 
Humanities Center, Watt Dining Room
Environmental Humanities Project
Meeting Description: 

In this presentation, Professor Ban Wang retrieves the ecological motifs of Shen Congwen (1902-1988), a well-known Chinese writer of rural landscape. Unaware of today’s environmental problems, Shen was nevertheless able to discern the seeds of the crisis from a bio-evolutionary perspective, created an animistic language, and critiqued the way modern civilization severs humanity’s ecological roots in nature. Though a modernist, Shen offered the conviction that human life on Earth remains part and parcel of ecosystems and humanity can never pull itself from planet Earth by its bootstraps.

Brief excerpts from Shen's writing will be pre-circulated before the event--contact if you would like to receive copies of the readings.

Wang Ban is a professor of Chinese literature at Stanford University. He received his PhD in comparative literature at UCLA. In addition to his research on Chinese and comparative literature, he has written on English and French literatures, psychoanalysis, international politics, and cinema. He has been a recipient of research fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Institute for Advanced Studies at Princeton. He taught at Beijing Foreign Studies University, SUNY-Stony Brook, Harvard University, and Rutgers University before he came to Stanford. His current project is tentatively entitled "China and the World: Geopolitics, Aesthetics, and Cosmopolitanism."