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Distributed for University of British Columbia Press

Coping with Calamity

Environmental Change and Peasant Response in Central China, 1736-1949

Distributed for University of British Columbia Press

Coping with Calamity

Environmental Change and Peasant Response in Central China, 1736-1949

The Jianghan Plain in central China has been shaped by its relationship with water. Once a prolific rice-growing region that drew immigrants to its fertile paddy fields, it has, since the eighteenth century, become prone to devastating flooding and waterlogging. Over time, population pressures and dike building left more and more people in the region vulnerable to frequent water calamities. The first environmental and socioeconomic history of the region, Coping with Calamity considers the Jianghan Plain’s volatile environment, the constant challenges it presented to peasants, and their often ingenious and sophisticated responses during the Qing and Republican periods.

Table of Contents

Introduction

1 Changes in the Environment of the Jianghan Plain

2 Water Calamities and the Management of the Dike Systems

3 The Dike Systems and the Jianghan Economy

4 Agriculture, Commercialization, and Environmental Adaptability

5 Tenancy and Environment

6 Fisheries and the Peasant Economy

7 A Water-Rich Society: Socio-Economic Life in a Marshy Kingdom

Conclusion

Appendix: The Yield of Rice in the Jianghan Plain in the Qing and
the Republic 

Glossary; Notes; References; Index

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