Sonya Lee, “Cave Temples of Sichuan and the Debate of the Anthropocene”
5:30 PM – 7:00 PM
Dr. Sonya Lee, Associate Professor of Chinese Art and Visual Cultures at USC, is a specialist in religious art and architecture of pre-modern China and has published widely on the material culture of Chinese Buddhism.
In this talk, Dr. Lee will discuss that, although the concept of the Anthropocene has fueled a powerful assumption that human activities have fundamentally altered the working of nature, the overemphasis on human involvement is nevertheless in need of reconsideration. She aims to insert cultural monuments from sites in southwestern China into the discussion and argue that cave temples located there contribute to water and air pollution as much as they offer possible solutions to the many environmental problems we face today. Understanding the place of these sites within China’s heritage management system, tourist industry, and the development of scholarship and conservation efforts marks one crucial step toward writing an “eco–art history” of Sichuan cave temples.