The scenario is a familiar one: Floodwaters ravage communities, causing widespread death and destruction. Questions are raised about authorities’ land management and responses to the disaster. Consequences, for the land and its people, are far-reaching and in some cases permanent.
Hurricane Katrina, the great Mississippi flood of 1927 and similar events in modern history – including the recent crisis at the Oroville Dam in California – often serve as case studies for the complex relationship between man and environment. But Associate Professor of History Ling Zhang finds equally compelling lessons from a disaster in medieval China, and her book on the subject has been recognized by the premier organization in the emerging, interdisciplinary field of environmental history.