The Asian Studies Center proposes a new collaborative program in social science research on the impact of economic growth on desertification and water resource management practices in rural, northwestern China. Student/faculty teams will be comprised of American and Chinese researchers who will focus on the following question: How has the massive economic development mandated by the central government’s ambitious “Opening and Reform of Northwest China” (Xibei dakaifa) program affected desertification and water resource management in rural, northwest China? This inquiry-based program contains an educational component designed to mentor young researchers through the complete process of designing a research agenda, performing primary research in the social sciences in both urban areas and rural Chinese villages, and developing collaborative research and writing skills. It builds upon the findings and methods of a highly successful previous Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program conducted in China from 2002 to 2010.
The program will take place at the University of Pittsburgh, Northwest University (Xi’an), and in rural villages in Shaanxi and Shanxi provinces, China (see map).
After phase four, PITT will maintain contact with participating members for a period of five years in order to build a collegial cadre of “China/Environmental Hands” and to ascertain the impact that this experience made upon their long-run academic plans.