Michael J. HathawayDec 28, 2013
Making the Global in Southwest China
University of California 2013
Globalization is locally specific: global connectivity looks different from place to place. Given that, how are global connections made? And why do they happen so differently in different places? In Environmental Winds: Making the Global in Southwest China (University of California Press, 2013), Michael J. Hathaway explores these questions in a rich study of Yunnan's engagement with environmentalism and the World Wildlife Fund. As celebrated in the book's title, Hathaway introduces the notion of changing "environmental winds" as a tool for understanding the transformative power of social formations in Yunnan and beyond. The narrative emphasizes the agency of many different kinds of actors in the co-creation of environmentalism in Yunnan, from humans to elephants, and pays special attention to the importance of Chinese intellectuals and local Yunnan people in incorporating China into a global conservation circuit. The story ranges from the global 1960s, touching on China's role in the anticolonial movement in Africa and feminist movement beyond, through the establishment of the first transnational conservation efforts in Yunnan in the 1980s, and into the shaping of global environmental efforts by an indigenous rights movement in the 1990s. It is a fascinating story that will be of interest to both Chinese and environmental studies. Enjoy!