Going Green in China

Seattle U professor will research the country’s sustainability programs
By Laura Paskin

Anthropology Professor Rob Efird received a Fulbright Scholar Research Award to spend the 2011-12 academic year in China. Efird, who is fluent in Mandarin Chinese, will collaborate with local scholars, schools, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to assess and better implement the practice of environmental education in China’s public schools.  

His research will build on his previous work in Yunnan Province assessing how schoolchildren learn to live sustainably and become good stewards of their ecosystems.  As part of that work, he interviewed members of the elementary school administration in Lashihai, Yunnan Province regarding environmental education and traditional culture.  

“This is an exciting and well deserved opportunity for Professor Efird,” said Jodi O’Brien, Chair of Anthropology, Sociology and Social Work. “He has an outstanding reputation as a scholar of East Asia and is particularly well-respected for his unique theoretical approach to economic development in China.” 

Efird received his Ph.D. from the University of Washington and joined the Arts and Sciences faculty in 2004. His ethnographic research has focused on Japan and the People’s Republic of China, with an emphasis on Sino-Japanese relations and environmental issues in contemporary China. His article “’Japan’s ‘War Orphans’: Identification and State Responsibility” appeared in the Journal of Japanese Studies, and his book chapter “Learning By Heart: An Anthropological Perspective on Environmental Learning in Lijiang” was published this year in the edited volume Environmental Anthropology Today. In addition to his research, Efird regularly leads an environmental studies summer program, the ChinaGreen program, which is offered by The Beijing Center, a Jesuit university-supported overseas study program. 


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