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Ling Zhang

assistant professor

photo of Ling Zhang

Telephone: 617-552-3031

Office: Stokes Hall, Room S357



Ph.D., Cambridge University, 2009

Fields of Interests:

Environmental, economic, and political history of China; Chinese middle period; comparative history of water and rivers; landscape studies; historical geography; environmental ethics and environmental justice

Academic Profile:

Professor Zhang studies the environmental, economic, and political history of pre-modern China. Her current research interests focus on the environmental and ecological history of the Yellow River, and the comparative history of rivers in traditional agrarian societies in Asia. She has finished a book manuscript that is entitled The River, the Plain, and the State: An Environmental and Economic History of Hebei, 1048-1128. She is now working on another book project, temporarily entitled "China's sorrow or the Yellow River's sorrow? An environmental history of the Yellow River." This study tells the story of the life and death of this particular river, and addresses the emotions of this organic entity -- its sorrow and anger -- during its thousands-of-years struggles against human domination and for power, space, and freedom. Before joining BC, Professor Zhang was a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Program in Agrarian Studies at Yale University, a Ziff Environmental Fellow in the Center for the Environment at Harvard University. She was an assistant professor in Chinese Studies at Newcastle University (UK) and a past recipient of the Chiang Ching-Kuo International Exchange Fundation Dissertation Fellowship and the Benefactors' Scholarship of St John's College, Cambridge. Professor Zhang will teach two sets of courses: various courses on pre-modern Chinese history and theoretical and comparative courses on environmental history.

Representative Publications:

  • “Manipulating the Yellow River and the State Building of the Northern Song Dynasty,” in Nature, the Environment and Climate Change in East Asia, Kulturwissenschaftliches Institut, ed. Carmen Meinhert (Leiden: Brill, forthcoming)
  • “Harmony or Disharmony: Traditional Chinese and Their Natural Environment,” in Demystifying China: New Understandings of Chinese History, ed. Naomi Standen (Boulder: Rowman & Littlefield, 2012)
  • “Ponds, Paddies, and Frontier Defence: Environmental and Economic Changes in Northern Hebei in Northern Song China (960-1127),” Journal of Medieval History 14.1 (2011)
  • “Changing with the Yellow River: An Environmental History of Hebei, 1048-1128,” Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies 69.1 (2009)