Brian G. LanderAssistant Professor of History and Environment and Society
I study the environmental history of ancient China, focusing on how the natural ecosystems of the Yellow and Yangzi river valleys were gradually replaced with farmland. This requires the use of archaeological, paleoecological and textual sources, and I focus in particular on the large numbers of documents written on wood and bamboo that have been excavated in China over the past few decades. I am currently working on the environmental consequences of the growth of states and empires in early China, and on the colonization of wetlands in the Yangzi Valley.
I teach both global and East Asian environmental history. I emphasize the wide variety of evidence that is available from multiple disciplines to study how humans have tranformed their environments. I encourage students to consider environmental change on multiple spatial and time scales, and to think comparatively about how similar processes occurr in different places.