Building on and extending beyond the successful River Cities of Asia summer programs (2009-2012), this new summer program in China in summer 2013 will explore the environmental, cultural, historical and sociological issues and challenges facing one of China’s fast-growing urban frontiers--the city of Kunming, capital of Yunnan province in southwestern China. A fairly remote and green provincial city with a natural beauty and pleasant weather, and also known as “the Vancouver of China,” the city of Kunming has been growing rapidly in recent years, building factories and skyscrapers as well as drawing migrant workers regionally and nationally in large numbers. The Chinese national government has been grooming Kunming to become the strategic hub for extending trade and transport connections across the border to and with Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar as part of economic and spatial integration with mainland Southeast Asia. This policy has led to the completion and opening of one of China’s largest airports in summer 2012, to the recent completion of a super-highway, and to the ongoing construction of a new high-speed railway from Kunming into Laos and Cambodia. Home to 26 of China’s 56 national minority groups, Kunming and its surrounding region are also ideally placed for studying the diverse cultural traditions and recent social change to these minority groups in their indigenous ecological environments.
Co-led by an anthropologist and a biologist/environmental scientist, with contributions from a historian and a sociologist at Trinity, this program will provide varied opportunities for the participating students to investigate pressing questions about relationships between rapid urban growth, large-scale infrastructure build-up, environmental impact on local ecosystems, especially Kunming’s abundant water bodies, and traditional minority culture and heritage sites such as the famous Stone Forest. Faculty and students will engage local academic institutions, NGOs, government agencies, and businesses through mutual lectures, collaborative learning, joint research, and short internships. From the programming hub of Kunming, the program will take a short study trip to the Dali Old Town. Given Kunming’s strategic importance for and geographic proximity with Southeast Asia, faculty and students will travel to Laos’ capital city of Vientiane or Luang Prabang in northern Laos to investigate the cross-border environmental impact of dam-construction on indigenous economies and everyday life along the Mekong River within China, Laos and further downstream. Generously supported by a new major grant from the Henry Luce Foundation to Trinity, the program will offer 3-4 stipends to interested students who want to stay for three additional weeks in Kunming to carry out field research and internship projects beyond the program. This summer program will be limited to approximately 10 students. It will begin in Hartford with a short and intensive session of orientation and preparation before June 1 when the group will leave for Kunming, China via Shanghai where it will have programmed activities at Fudan University, Trinity’s academic partner in China, and visit the Municipal Planning Hall and the world-class Shanghai Museum. A limited number of scholarships may be available based on academic credentials and financial needs.
This multidisciplinary program will be led by Trinity faculty members. The program will be limited to approximately 10 students. It will begin in Hartford and students will undertake embedded teaching, research, and engagement projects in collaboration with top universities, government agencies, and NGOs in Chongqing and Kunming with study excursions to secondary cities in the surrounding region.
Students may now apply via our new ONLINE application process. The application deadline will be April 1, 2013 and enrollment will be capped at 10 STUDENTS for the Summer of 2013. If you are interested in hearing more about this process, please contact the OIP to make an appointment.