WHC Director Ruth Mostern Wins Association for Asian Studies Book Prize!

Congratulations to World History Center Director Dr. Ruth Mostern for receiving the Association for Asian Studies' Joseph Levenson Prize for her book The Yellow River: A Natural and Unnatural History, published by Yale University Press. The Levenson Prize recognizes outstanding scholarship and contribution to the field for pre-1900 English language, non-fiction scholarly books on China. 

The Yellow River is a three-thousand-year history of the Yellow River, China’s second largest river, and the legacy of interactions between humans and the natural landscape. From Neolithic times to the present day, the Yellow River and its watershed have both shaped and been shaped by human society. Using the Yellow River to illustrate the long-term effects of environmentally significant human activity, Dr. Mostern unravels the long history of the human relationship with water and soil and the consequences, at times disastrous, of ecological transformations that resulted from human decisions.

As Dr. Mostern follows the Yellow River through three millennia of history, she underlines how governments consistently ignored the dynamic interrelationships of the river’s varied ecosystems—grasslands, riparian forests, wetlands, and deserts—and the ecological and cultural impacts of their policies. With an interdisciplinary approach informed by archival research and GIS (geographical information system) records, this groundbreaking volume provides unique insight into patterns, transformations, and devastating ruptures throughout ecological history and offers profound conclusions about the way we continue to affect the natural systems upon which we depend.