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The Pacific Basin Institute at Pomona College Presents Series on Sustainability and Consumption in Asia

Five thousand years ago in Asia, the five elements most basic to the global ecosystem were identified as: earth, fire, water, wood and metal. Today the Asia-Pacific region’s booming populations, rapidly growing economies and increased power are contributing to massive global environmental changes. The elements of old meet modern challenges of sustainability and consumption. The Pacific Basin Institute at Pomona College will address these issues in the fall 2008 lecture series, “Consuming/Sustaining Asia: Elemental Concerns—Earth/Fire.” There is no cost to attend the lectures, which are open to the public and will be held at Pomona College:

“Consuming China: Measuring U.S. and Chinese Responses to the Olympics”
Thursday, Sept. 25, 4:15 p.m., (followed by reception) Hahn Building, Room 101 (420 N. Harvard Ave., Claremont)

Peter Hays Gries (Director of the Institute for U.S.-China Issues, University of Oklahoma)

The Chinese Communist Party invested over $40 billion in stadiums and infrastructure for the Beijing Olympics, and lost billions more by shutting down factories in the hopes of curbing Beijing’s notorious pollution. Did the investment pay off? What impact did increased exposure to China during the Olympics have on American attitudes towards China? Gries will address these questions in his talk.

“Earth and Fire: Sustaining Life and Art on the Silk Road”
Wednesday, Oct. 15, 4:15 p.m., (followed by reception) Hahn Building, Room 101 (420 N. Harvard Ave., Claremont)

Susan Whitfield (Historian, Curator at the British Library and Director of the International Dunhuang Project)

The yellow earth in China’s historical heart is a potent symbol for the country. Long a source of life and art, during the 1980s it was, however, portrayed as indicative of China’s backwardness in the documentary series ‘Heshang’ and, more ambivalently, in Zhang Yimou’s ‘Yellow Earth’. Dividing the people of the plains with their abundant yellow earth from the peoples of the steppes with their sparse black earth it also symbolizes a boundary between the settled and the nomad. In this illustrated talk, Whitfield—who has traveled and written extensively on the Silk Road—will question these boundaries and consider an alternative story, where peoples, their culture and their art migrate and mix, just like the earth around them.

“The Consequences of Agent Orange/Dioxin on Natural Resources and the Environment in South Vietnam”
Wednesday, Nov. 5, 4:15 p.m. (followed by reception) Hahn Building, Room 101 (420 N. Harvard Ave., Claremont)

Phung Tuu Boi (Director of the Nature Conservation and Community Development Center, Vietnam)

Tuu Boi, member of the Vietnamese Forest Inventory and Planning Institute, will focus his lecture on the effects on forests of herbicides and defoliants used from 1961 to 1971 in the Vietnam War.

For further information, call (909) 607-8065 or visit

The Pacific Basin Institute is dedicated to expanding and enhancing comity and shared knowledge among the nations and cultures that face the Pacific. A valued study, media production and research center, PBI also offers books, film series and lecture programs to a general as well as academic audience. Since the turn of the past century Pomona College has been a leader in Asian Studies among American universities.