A Change in Worlds on the Sino-Tibetan Borderlands

A Change in Worlds on the Sino-Tibetan Borderlands : Politics, Economies, and Environments in Northern Sichuan

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This study of Sino-Tibetan northern Sichuan provides a framework for understanding changes in western China's landscape and among its indigenous populations from late imperial to contemporary times. It highlights the significant role that Tibetans first had in shaping local institutions, markets, and natural landscapes, and then how the "modern" Chinese state later set its own indelible stamp on local people and environments. This is a story of the conflicts and contradictions that rise out of manipulation of peoples, ecologies, and identities.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 298 pages
  • 152.4 x 228.6 x 27.94mm | 566.99g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • New.
  • 5 maps
  • 0739173804
  • 9780739173800

Review quote

Observing the unique intersections of pivotal themes such as the balance between tourism and conservation, and the capacity of the state and the landscape, Jack Patrick Hayes offers a detailed and historical account of the changes witnessed at China's borderlands, addressing key issues such as the politics of identity and the importance of the environment. It is a comprehensive report on the shifting landscape of eastern Tibet, amid vast power struggles and the transformations of modernity. Tibet Foundation Newsletter A Change in Worlds offers an incisive and richly detailed account of the socio-environmental transformation of the borderland region of Songpan from the Qing dynasty through the present. Through careful historical analysis, Hayes provides fascinating insights about Tibetan use of fire in producing the region's pastoral landscapes, gang warfare, and opium production in the Republican period, and the contradictions between tourism and conservation in the present. The book constitutes a sustained argument for the importance of the environment in social and political history, and for decentering conceptualizations of both China and Tibet. -- Emily T. Yeh, University of Colorado-Boulder This book addresses cutting-edge issues in the understanding of China's history, in particular the processes of human-induced environmental change, and the ways in which environment and ethnicity in late imperial and modern China inform each other. Hayes explores how an environmentally diverse place in western China became a 'middle ground' for interactions among various peoples-in particular Tibetans and Han Chinese-that led ultimately to the incorporation of what had been a Tibetan dominated region into the modern Chinese state. Along the way we learn that Tibetans used fire in their mountainous environment to transform forests into pastures for their herds, leading to a more or less sustainable form of agro-pastoralism. Hayes also enlightens the reader to the multifarious ways in which the Chinese Communist state affected the local environment, economy, and society, including the most recent developments of eco- and ethno-tourism. This book is a significant contribution-providing invaluable and rare insight into this region and its people. -- Robert B. Marks, Whittier College A Change in Worlds is an extremely detailed and well-researched environmental and social history of the Songpan Region of Sichuan, a borderland in both a geographical and cultural sense. Using a variety of historical materials, Hayes intricately describes the dynamic environment of the region and analyzes the role of social, political and economic institutions in shaping it. The reader is left with a rich understanding of this unique region of China, along with a sense of its broader significance to the fields of history and environmental studies. -- Bryan Tilt, Oregon State University The book is an excellent reference for anyone interested in the modern history of the Tibetan borderlands. It is also an important and refreshingly original addition to the case studies of the uplands of Asia and how their peoples and landscapes have reacted and adapted to change when confronted head on with modernization and the modern state. Asian Highlands Perspectivesshow more

About Jack Patrick Hayes

Jack Patrick Hayes is lecturer in the Departments of History and Asian Studies at Kwantlen Polytechnic University and research associate at the University of British Columbia.show more

Table of contents

Introduction Chapter 1: Songpan: People, Environments, and Histories Chapter 2: Pastoral Pursuits, Mining, and Poppies: Resources, Authority, and Resistance Under Local and Warlord Regimes Chapter 3: Inscribing the State on the Landscape: State Models for Tibetans, Herds, and Forests in Songpan Chapter 4: Landscapes and Civilization: Tourism, Ecology, and Ethnicity in Modern Songpan Chapter 5: Conclusionshow more

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