Coping with Calamity: Environmental Change and Peasant Response in Central China, 1736-1949 by Jiayan ZhangCoping with Calamity: Environmental Change and Peasant Response in Central China, 1736-1949 by Jiayan Zhang

Coping with Calamity: Environmental Change and Peasant Response in Central China, 1736-1949

byJiayan Zhang

Paperback | January 31, 2015

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The Jianghan Plain in central China has been shaped by itsrelationship with water. Once a prolific rice-growing region that drewimmigrants to its fertile paddy fields, it has, since the eighteenthcentury, become prone to devastating flooding and waterlogging.Population pressures and the demand for farmland have put increasedpressure on the area’s dike system, leaving large populationsvulnerable to frequent water calamities. Jiayan Zhang consults earlyrecords of catastrophic water events and explores their role in shapingJianghan society in the Qing and Republican periods. In a constantlyshifting environment, the peasants of Jianghan were forced to adapttheir farming methods; cooperate on complex projects like dikebuilding; and even organize social structures, tenancy arrangements,and lifestyle around the pressure and uncertainty of their environment.The first environmental and socioeconomic history of the region,Coping with Calamity considers the Jianghan Plain’svolatile environment, the constant challenges it presented to peasants,and their often ingenious and sophisticated responses. It is anessential contribution to our understanding of Chinese peasant cultureand to a little-studied region, considered one of the most important inChina’s agricultural history.

Jiayan Zhang is an associate professor of history at Kennesaw State University.
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Title:Coping with Calamity: Environmental Change and Peasant Response in Central China, 1736-1949Format:PaperbackDimensions:292 pages, 8.93 × 6 × 0.75 inPublished:January 31, 2015Publisher:Ubc PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0774825960

ISBN - 13:9780774825962

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Table of Contents

Introduction

1 Changes in the Environment of the Jianghan Plain

2 Water Calamities and the Management of the Dike Systems

3 The Dike Systems and the Jianghan Economy

4 Agriculture, Commercialization, and Environmental Adaptability

5 Tenancy and Environment

6 Fisheries and the Peasant Economy

7 A Water-Rich Society: Socio-Economic Life in a Marshy Kingdom

Conclusion

Appendix: The Yield of Rice in the Jianghan Plain in the Qingand
the Republic 

Glossary; Notes; References; Index

Editorial Reviews

Coping with Calamity is the first English-language book on the ecology, economy, and society of the Jianghan plain, one of the most important agricultural areas in late imperial and modern China. It is unique in interpreting rural economic and social institutions in modern China using an environmental approach. Zhang’s book is essential reading for students of rural China and modern Chinese history. - Huaiyin Li, author of Village China under Socialism and Reform: A Micro-History, 1948-2008