The CAS research group Airborne: Pollution, Climate Change, and New Visions of Sustainability inKaren Thornber, Harvard University China has invited Karen Thornber, Harvard University, to hold a lecture and workshop on Environmental Humanities 24 May 2017.


Improving public health, global health, and health and well-being in general is one of the world’s largest and most important challenges.   Over the past century, advances in human health worldwide have been monumental, and there is much to celebrate. Yet significant obstacles remain.  The need for enhanced scientific and medical research goes without saying.  But as medical schools and professional organizations worldwide are coming to acknowledge, the need for the medical humanities is no less acute.  This presentation first introduces the concept of the medical humanities.  I then discuss what literature scholarship – and in particular scholarship on the literatures of East Asia – can contribute to this field, and even more importantly to current healthcare needs, including the need to ameliorate if not eradicate stigmas against disease that cause more suffering than diseases themselves.  As case studies I examine works of literature from China, Japan, and Korea.

About Thornber

Karen Thornber is Professor of Comparative Literature and of East Asian Languages and Civilizations at Harvard University, Victor and William Fung Director of the Harvard University Asia Center, Chair of the Harvard University Council on Asian Studies, and Director of the Harvard Global Institute Environmental Humanities Initiative.  Thornber is author of two multiple international award-winning scholarly monographs – Empire of Texts in Motion: Chinese, Korean, and Taiwanese Transculturations of Japanese Literature (2009) and Ecoambiguity: Environmental Crises and East Asian Literatures (2012) – as well as close to 70 articles/book chapters on comparative and world literature, environmental and medical humanities, gender, indigeneities, transculturation (translation), and trauma, as well as the literatures and cultures of China, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan, together with the literatures of the Indian Ocean Rim.  Thornber is also co-editor of four volumes and is an award-winning translator of Japanese literature.

Open to all interested

Please email if you want to attend this event.