In China, the weather has changed. Decades of reform have been shadowed by a changing meteorological normal: seasonal dust storms and spectacular episodes of air pollution have reworked physical and political relations between land and air in China and downwind. Continent in Dust offers an anthropology of strange weather, focusing on intersections among statecraft, landscape, atmosphere, and society. Traveling from state engineering programs that attempt to choreograph the movement of mobile dunes in the interior, to newly reconfigured bodies and airspaces in Beijing, and beyond, this book explores contemporary China as a weather system in the making: what would it mean to understand “the rise of China” literally, as the country itself rises into the air?
Jerry Zee is Assistant Professor in the High Meadows Environmental Institute and the Department of Anthropology. His work explores experiments in policy that theorize and attempt to remediate emerging environmental challenges in Asia and North America. He conducts fieldwork in China and western Canada, where movements of Chinese capital, aerosols, and people have been reworking the Pacific Rim as a densely and complexly constituted political, geophysical, and transnational region. His work is situated at the intersections of the environmental humanities and ethnography, feminist science and technology studies, and political theory and analysis.