Dr. Shellen Wu will spend the 2013-4 academic year doing research in China, supported by a prestigious Luce/ACLS Fellowship. She will use that time to research a new book project, tentatively entitled “Geography and the Fate of Chinese Civilization: Geopolitical Discourse in Twentieth Century China.” The project traces the historical roots of geopolitical discourse in China. About this project, Dr. Wu explains, “Although the connection between politics and geography was by no means a new phenomenon either in the West or in China, two new factors came into play in the twentieth century. First, the wide-ranging influence of social Darwinism extended biological metaphors to territorial conceptualization. Second, decades of political crisis and domestic strife followed by foreign invasion radicalized Chinese intellectuals and scientists and gave credence to the idea of states engaged in a battle for survival and access to natural resources.”
Dr. Wu is also completing the manuscript of her book, “Underground Empires: Coal and China’s Entry into the Modern World Order, 1860-1920.” The work will be part of the publication series Studies of the Weatherhead East Asian Institute at Columbia University and is currently under review at Stanford University Press.