Published: Jan. 31, 2021

On February 3, Wednesday at 3:30pm MT, Dr. Emily Yeh will show and discuss her film Shielding the Mountains as part of the CU Environmental Studies Spring 2021 Colloquium Series.

Please register for the Zoom link here:

In the late 1990s, transnational conservation organizations working in China began to try to mobilize Tibetan culture and religion in the service of biodiversity conservation. Dr. Yeh examines the proliferation of environmental identities, subjectivities, and organizations across Tibet in the early 2000s as a product of a set of contingent articulations between the interest of local Tibetan communities, Chinese environmentalists, and transnational actors. This created an unexpected space for Tibetan cultural assertion and the possibilities of inter-ethnic collaboration in a fraught political situation. Dr. Yeh will show her brief film that focuses on the story of Rinchen Samdrup, and discuss the work of number of other Tibetan environmental activists. The talk explores the variety of ways in which historically-rooted religious and cultural elements are mobilized in new ways for the protection of the environment, pointing out their commonalities and differences, as well as their convergences and divergences with Western forms of environmentalism.

Emily Yeh is Professor of Geography interested in transnational conservation, critical development studies, the relationship between nature, territory, and the nation, and environmental justice. Dr. Yeh’s regional expertise is in China, Tibet, and the Himalayas. Her main research interests are on questions of power, political economy, and cultural politics in the nature-society relationship. Using primarily ethnographic methods, Dr. Yeh has conducted research on property rights, natural resource conflicts, environmental history, development and landscape transformation, grassland management and environmental policies, and emerging environmentalisms in Tibetan areas of China. In addition, she has also worked on the politics of identity and race in the Tibetan diaspora, and on interdisciplinary, collaborative projects on putative causes of rangeland degradation and vulnerability to climate change on the Tibetan Plateau.