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International Conference on "Environmental History of the Pacific World" Held at SYSU

From May 24 to 26, 2018, the International Conference on "Environmental History of the Pacific World" was held on Guangzhou South Campus, Sun Yat-sen University (SYSU). The event was jointly organized by the Department of History at SYSU, Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society at Munich University, Germany, and Center for Ecological History at Renmin University, China. A total of more than 30 scholars from 10 countries and regions attended the conference.
Professor Chen Chunsheng, Secretary of SYSU Party Committee and Vice President of Association of Chinese Historians, attended the roundtable discussion of "The Future of Environmental History” and delivered a welcome speech. On the evening of May 24, the roundtable was held at the Scholar Hall in SYSU Library, which was hosted by Professor Xie Shi, Chair of the Department of History at SYSU. The guest speakers included Professor John MacNeill, President of the American Association of History; Professor Christof Mauch, Director of the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society; Professor Donald Worster of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; Professor Poul Holm at Trinity University, Ireland; and Associate Professor Hou Shen at Renmin University of China. Dozens of teachers and students from SYSU’s Department of History participated in the discussion. In his speech, Professor Chen Chunsheng pointed out that Sun Yat-sen University is at a new starting point in its historical development and has been making efforts to promote cooperation and exchanges with world-class universities and institutions. In order to serve the needs of the country's development strategy, SYSU has continuously deepened comprehensive interdisciplinary research on major topics such as marine and environmental issues. After the roundtable, Professor Chen Chunsheng, on behalf of SYSU, accepted academic masterpieces donated by renowned historians.
Assistant President Song Shanping attended the opening ceremony of the conference held on the afternoon of May 24 and delivered a speech on behalf of SYSU. She expressed warm congratulations on the convening of the conference, pointing out that Sun Yat-sen University has always paid attention to the research on ocean-related issues. She wished that Sun Yat-sen University would continue to maintain close exchanges and cooperation with world-class universities. Professor Xia Mingfang, co-organizer of the conference and director of the Center for Ecological History at Renmin University of China, expressed his sincere recognition and gratitude to Sun Yat-sen University for organizing this high-level academic conference.

Group photo
The full day of May 25 and the morning of May 26 were group sessions. The conference organizers discussed the participating papers in groups based on research fields and themes, including "Mapping the Pacific Ocean", "Ways to Understand Land and Sea", "Fisheries in a Limited World" and "Resource Competition in War and Peace". Finally, Professor Poul Holm made a concluding presentation entitled "Reflection on the history of fisheries and aquaculture in the Asia-Pacific region". While fully acknowledging the fruits beard at the current meeting, he also suggested that the study of marine environmental history, including polar history, still needed to be strengthened and that the oceans would become a new focus in the study of environmental history.
It was generally agreed that the historical study of the Pacific history should focus on a multidisciplinary perspective, and that geographical exploration, climate change and exchanges and conflicts around the exploitation of marine resources were important drivers of historical change in the Pacific in recent and modern times.
The International Conference on "Environmental History of the Pacific World", embodies and further expands the international academic influence of the Department of History at SYSU, and provides new insights into the environmental problems confronting the global social development.