Jerry Zee

Grant Type

Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship

Institutional Affiliation

Princeton U.

Grant number

Gr. 9689

Approve Date

October 4, 2018

Project Title

Zee, Dr. Jerry Chuang-Hwa, U. of California, Santa Cruz, CA - To aid research and writing on 'Desert/Storm: Experiments on a Chinese Dust-Stream' - Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship

JERRY CHUANG-HWA ZEE, University of California, Santa Cruz, California, was awarded a Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship in October 2018 to aid research and writing on ‘Desert/Storm: Experiments on a Chinese Dust-Stream.’ The Hunt Fellowship afforded time to complete and revise an ethnographic monograph. ‘Continent in Dust: Experiments in a Chinese Weather System,’ forthcoming from the University of California Press (2022), is a political ethnography of strange weather in China. It traces a dust-transporting airstream that links sandy lands in China’s interior, Beijing’s dust-afflicted atmosphere, and eventually downwind places like the United States and South Korea as a seasonal meteorological zone, rutted out in the flows of major dust storm events. Along this zone, the book explores experiments in politics and environment addressed to dust, desert, and particulate matter as three possible phases of a substance-relation called wind-sand, which, for Chinese environmental engineers and bureaucrats at all levels, indicates a stunning capacity of landscape and weather to phase into one another. By considering these phase shifts by which the material interphase of land and air comes to matter as a crucial political problem, the book pioneers an ethnographic method that attends to how political systems and weather systems tangle, each changing with the other. It argues that China’s meteorological contemporary, a time in the geohistory of the nation defined through strange embroilments of earth and weather, reworks ‘the rise of China’ as a literal problem of a country lifting into and becoming its own sky, posing challenges for analysis and for ethnography.