Special Report: Chinese History in Geographical Perspective Conference

Special Report: Chinese History in Geographical Perspective Conference

By Dr. Jeff Kyong-McClain, UALR Department of History

On Saturday, Feb. 19, 2011, 20 China scholars from 19 universities in 11 states and five countries gathered at the Arkansas Studies Institute in downtown Little Rock to participate in the Chinese History in Geographical Perspective conference.

The scholars came to Little Rock to present their latest research on Chinese history, religion, and culture and show how it was informed by taking geographical considerations into account. The event’s keynote addresses were by two of the leading historians of China in the United States:  Laura Hostetler, Professor of History at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and Peter Bol, Professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations and Director of the Center for Geographical Analysis at Harvard University.

Sixty people attended the event, which was free and open to the public. On Sunday, conference participants attended a workshop on using GIS technology in the study of Chinese history, taught by Peter Bol, with assistance provided by UALR assistant professor of history (geography), Jess Porter and the director of the College of Business’ GIS lab, Sunny Farmahan.

A published volume, composed of many of the papers, is in the works, and will be edited by the conference co-organizers assistant professor of history Jeff Kyong-McClain and Yongtao Du (History, Oklahoma State). The conference was supported by many units from within and without UALR: College of Business, College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, Office of Research and Graduate Studies, Department of History, Office of the Provost, Arkansas Humanities Council, and the China and Inner Asia Council of the Association for Asian Studies.

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