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Fire Fights: Swidden Agriculture and Green Imperialism in Korea and Beyond

Fire Fights: Swidden Agriculture and Green Imperialism in Korea and Beyond

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David Fedman, Associate Professor, Department of History, University of California, Irvine

Thursday, November 18, 2021
11:00 AM - 12:30 PM (Pacific Time)

  This lecture explores the history of green imperialism in Asia through the smoke-filled lens of two fires—one long extinguished in the mountains of northern Korea, one presently burning in the palm-oil fields of Indonesia. Though separated by roughly eight decades and 45 degrees of latitude, both blazes throw into focus enduring dynamics in the expansion of and resistance to plantation forestry in Asia. Considered together, these fires force us to consider how the preservation of verdant forests in Japan (and, later, South Korea) has been predicated on the control of woodlands abroad.

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David Fedman is an Associate Professor in the Department of History at the University of California, Irvine. He is the author of Seeds of Control: Japan's Empire of Forestry in Colonial Korea (Univ. of Washington Press, 2020), which received the American Historical Association Pacific Coast Branch Book Award and the Forest History Society's Charles A. Weyerhaeuser Book Award. His most recent book, as co-editor, is Forces of Nature: New Approaches to Korean Environments (Cornell University Press, forthcoming 2022).

Sponsor(s): Center for Korean Studies

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