Cornell University

CCCI: Transforming More-than-human Economies in Southwest China

Monday, February 10, 2020 at 4:30pm to 6:00pm

Goldwin Smith Hall, 64 Kaufman Auditorium
232 East Ave, Central Campus

'Shrooms take Southwest China! This semester's first Cornell Contemporary China Initiative lecture examines the booming matsutake mushroom trade in this talk titled, Transforming More-than-human Economies in Southwest China: The role of the Matsutake Mushroom. Michael Hathaway of Simon Frasier University, British Columbia is our guest speaker. 

Abstract: Since the 1980s, the trade in one of the world’s most valuable wild fungi, the matsutake mushroom, has fostered tremendous social change for people in Southwest China. This region has become the world’s main center for a global trade, worth over a billion dollars a year. The matsutake economy is shaping ethnic minority communities, including Yi and Tibetan peoples, some of whom have gotten rid of their grazing animals such as goats and yaks to commit themselves to the mushroom trade. At the same time, Beijing has initiated environmental transformation of these uplands in the Tibetan Plateau, valuing these places more in terms of watershed protection than agricultural production. After a major flood in 1998, affecting more than 300 million lowland residents, the government instituted a logging ban over a vast area, a policy that inadvertently pushed more people away from pastoralism and towards matsutake.

This talk is co-sponsored by the Polson Institute for Global Development and the East Asia Program.

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Development Sociology, East Asia Program, Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies


East Asia program, polsonsymposium, developmental sociology






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Amala Lane

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Michael Hathaway

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Simon Frasier University, British Columbia, Canada

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wheelchair accessible; more upon advanced request

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