The Flood Pulse: The Social-Ecology of the 1931 Central China Flood

Monday 16 March 2015 (17:00-19:00)

Dr Shirley Ye ( )

  • Dr Chris Courtney
  • Environmental Humanities and China Institute Research Seminar
  • Peter Gelling Room, Arts 315

In 1931 a devastating flood struck Central China. It inundated an area the size of Great Britain and affected the lives of an estimated fifty-three million people. This paper examines the human experience of this disaster by placing it within the broader ecological context of the flood pulse. Inundations have a complex impact upon river valley ecosystems, killing millions of organisms whilst creating opportunities for others. In order to understand what happened to the human population in 1931, it is also necessary also to appreciate what happened to the plants, cows, insects, and molluscs that were part of their environment.

Chris Courtney is a Research Fellow in Chinese History at Gonville and Caius College, University of Cambridge.

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