Mark Bender

Dr. Mark Bender to Present “Pounding Rice Together: Eco-poetry from the Frontiers of Zomia” on February 25

 Kauke Hall 305, Thursday 7-8 pm, Feb. 25, 2016

MarkBenderThis talk will discuss how contemporary poets in the borderlands of China, India, and Myanmar utilize images of traditional cultures and local environments in their poems. Much like the concept of “Appalachia,” “Zomia” is a construct of geographers and other scholars. The trans-national upland area, located on the margins of major states, is home to hundreds of ethnic groups with unique cultures and speaking diverse languages. Ecological and cultural change are rapidly transforming this once isolated area. Responding to these changes, local poets draw on a host of “meaning-full” imagery, including images of weaving, jewelry, farming and hunting tools, folk architecture, food ways, song and dance traditions, garments, rituals, domestic animals, native flora and fauna, and land and water forms. Works of poets such as Aku Wuwu, Burao Yilu, Temsula Ao, Desmond Kharmawphlang, and ko ko thett will be examined from the perspective of eco-literature and folkloristics.

Dr. Mark Bender is Professor in Chinese and Chair of the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures at The Ohio State University. He specializes in traditional performance and performance-connected literature of China, including local Han and ethnic minority cultures. He has published on numerous subjects, including Suzhou professional storytelling (pingtan) and the oral and written literatures of several Chinese minority cultures, such as the Yi, Miao (Hmong), and Daur.

Dr. Bender’s lecture is sponsored by Chinese Department. Please let Professor You know if you are interested in having dinner with Bender prior to his talk.