The Department of Geography is pleased to announce the publication of assistant teaching professor Jesse Rodenbiker's new book, Ecological States: Politics of Science and Nature in Urbanizing China (2023, Cornell University Press). The book is available in paperback and as a free open-access e-book here.


Rodenbiker EcologicalStates CUP cover


A recording of the Ecological States book forum held at Rutgers University in fall 2023 can be found here. The forum was co-organized through Rutgers Center for Chinese Studies, Department of Geography, and the Global Asias Initiative.

Ecological States critically examines ecological policies in the People's Republic of China to show how campaigns of scientifically based environmental protection transform nature and society. While many point to China's ecological civilization programs as a new paradigm for global environmental governance,  Jesse Rodenbiker argues that ecological redlining extends the reach of the authoritarian state. 

Although Chinese urban sustainability initiatives have driven millions of citizens from their land and housing, Rodenbiker shows that these migrants are not passive subjects of state policy. Instead, they creatively navigate resettlement processes in pursuit of their own benefits. However, their resistance is limited by varied forms of state-backed infrastructural violence.

Through extensive fieldwork with scientists, urban planners, and everyday citizens in southwestern China, Ecological States exposes the ways in which the scientific logics and practices fundamental to China's green urbanization have solidified state power and contributed to dispossession and social inequality.