John S. Lee is a Fellow at the Agrarian Studies Program, Yale University. He completed his Ph.D. in History and East Asian Languages in 2017 in the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations at Harvard University. His Ph.D. dissertation, Protect the Pines, Punish the People: Forests and the State in Pre-Industrial Korea, 918-1897, is the first English-language treatment of Korea’s pre-industrial environmental history. Using a variety of Classical Chinese and Korean-language primary sources, his research examines the rise and fall of one of the longest-lasting state forestry systems in world history, that of Korea’s Chosŏn dynasty. As an Agrarian Studies fellow, he plans to expand the dissertation into a monograph that will insert the Korean case into wider scholarship on state forestry in the early modern world. He is particularly interested in how state forestry regimes intersect and transform patterns of governance and environmental change in pre-industrial societies. In addition, he will begin research into the broader environmental legacies of the Mongol Empire in Korea, focusing on the long-term impact of Inner Asian equine culture on Korean society and ecologies.
The core of the Agrarian Studies Program’s activities is a weekly colloquium organized around an annual theme. The 2017-2018 theme is “Hinterlands, Frontiers, Cities, and States: Transactions and Identities.”
Invited specialists send papers in advance that are the focus of an organized discussion by the faculty and graduate students associated with the colloquium.