Fellows

Ling Zhang

Current Position: 

Assistant Professor, Boston College
Ziff Environmental Fellow: 2009-2011

Faculty Host: 

Ling Zhang is a historian studying the environmental and economic history of medieval northern China, with particular emphasis on the environmental problems associated with natural disasters and economic decline in traditional agricultural society.

Ling received a joint B.A. in literature, linguistics, history, and philosophy and an M.A. in history from Peking University. She received an MPhil and a Ph.D. in Chinese Studies from the University of Cambridge in 2008. Since then, she has been working as a Lecturer in Chinese Studies at Newcastle University (UK), teaching courses on Chinese history and Chinese environmental and regional studies. Ling’s past research involves Chinese institutional history, political and military relations between Chinese and non-Chinese regimes during the sixth and twelfth centuries, and the economic history of the Khitan in eastern Mongolia between the ninth and eleventh centuries. Her doctoral thesis focuses on the Hebei area in northeast China in the eleventh century, examining the region’s environmental and ecological degradation and their long-term impact on the changes in human production, migration, and settlements in this part of China.

As a Ziff Environmental Fellow, Ling worked with Peter K. Bol in the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations. She continued the research on northeast China begun in her thesis, with an aim to deepen the understanding of the historical development of the environmental problems that continue to afflict China today. By collaborating with Chinese geographers and hydrologists on fieldwork and exploring historical documents, Ling worked to provide a persuasive understanding of both the causes and far-reaching consequences of environmental decline in Chinese history.

Harvard University
Center for the Environment

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