Today Julia Keblinska and I had the pleasure of talking to Assistant Professor Jerry Zee about his book, Continent in Dust: Experiments in a Chinese Weather System, published by University of California Press in 2022.

Continent in Dust offers a political anthropological account of strange weather. It is an ethnography of China’s meteorological contemporary – the transformed weather patterns whose formations and fallouts have accompanied decades of breakneck economic development. Focusing on intersections among statecraft, landscape, atmosphere and society, Jerry Zee’s research is beautifully articulated taking the reader on a journey from state engineering programs that attempt to choreograph the movement of mobile dunes in the interior, to newly reconfigured bodies and airspace in Beijing, and beyond. Timely and original, Continent in Dust considers contemporary China as a weather system to reconsider how we can better understand “the rise of China” literally, as the country itself rises into the air.

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