College of Arts and Sciences

Spring 2018 Colloquium Series » Abstracts

February 16

Heat, Wind, and Fire:
Extreme climate events in a historical context

Between hurricanes Irma and Maria, wildfires in California, and the ‘Lucifer’ heatwave in Europe, 2017 was a year of climate extremes.  Extreme climate events are rare per definition and long-term records are needed to put their recent frequency and intensity in a historical context. In my talk, I will present three tree-ring based studies aimed at providing long-term records of Caribbean hurricane, California wildfire, and European heatwave occurrence. I will show how our century-long proxy records have improved our understanding of the climate dynamical and external drivers of such extreme climate events. 

February 23

Shaping Chinese-American Children’s Ethnic Identity: Structure and Agency across Everyday Space

Abstract: A foundation to children’s geographies is the centrality of children’s agency which positions children and young people as social actors actively participating in constructing their own lives. However children’s agency should not endorse the myth of children’s autonomy and see them as independent subjects, but highlight a complex web of interplay between children and adults, children and environment, children and site and space. The proposed project aims at empirically and theoretically contributing to this strand of critique through an ethnographic study of second generation Chinese immigrant children’s ethnic identity in the US. Social and cultural constraints at different sites of children’s everyday life will be examined in order to map the social structures of children’s ethnicity; in depth interviews and participatory observations will be conducted with children at those sites in order to find out how agency takes place with social, spatial, temporal, and environmental variations, to shape their ethnic identity and tell who they truly are.