6:00pm EDT April 14, 2016

Robin Visser


“The Chinese Eco-City and Urbanization Planning”

Robin Visser (B.S. Engineering, University of Michigan; Ph.D. Chinese, Columbia University) is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Asian Studies at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She specializes in Chinese literature, urban studies, and environmental studies. Her first book, Cities Surround the Countryside: Urban Aesthetics in Postsocialist China (Duke UP, 2010), analyzes Chinese urban planning, architecture, fiction, cinema, art and cultural studies at the turn of the twenty-first century. She has published numerous articles and translations on Chinese and Taiwanese urban cultural studies, literature, and cinema, and has forthcoming essays on Chinese eco-city planning and global creative city policies. She is Chief Co-editor of the Chinese-language Journal of East Asian Humanities《東亞人文》, serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Urban Cultural Studies, and is a Standing Review Board Member of the Research Grants Council, Hong Kong SAR. Her current research is for a book manuscript on Sinophone environmental literature, tentatively titled Bordering Chinese Eco-Literatures.

In her lecture, Visser will analyze three case studies of Chinese “eco-city” development within the context of national “urbanization planning” policies in order to elucidate prevalent rural land conversion mechanisms within China’s rapidly evolving urbanization strategies. Urban-rural integration policies aim to develop vast regions as metropolitan networks, industrialize agriculture, and relocate thousands of farmers into new or redeveloped cities.She explores how the rhetoric of sustainability rationalizes land transfers in order to evaluate whether eco-city projects function primarily within a virtual speculative economy rather than significantly contributing to the social or ecological good.