Campus News

Connie Y. Chiang Appointed CSC Scholar-in-Residence

Story posted August 23, 2002

Connie Y. Chiang, an environmental historian from California, has been appointed the Bowdoin Coastal Studies Center Scholar-in-Residence.

Chiang will teach the course "Surf, Sand, and Sea: The American Coastline in Historical Perspective," do research comparing the coastlines of the western and eastern U.S., and give a public lecture at the end of the semester.

"Surf, Sand, and Sea" (History/Environmental Studies 279) examines the historical development of the American coastline, focusing on the Pacific Coast, with a comparative concentration on New England. Environmental changes on the coast, the coast as a zone for social and cultural activities, and Americans' shifting perceptions of and attitudes toward their shorelines will be among the ideas addressed.

Class work will revolve around European exploration, Indian-white relations, immigration, labor, fisheries and whaling, scientific research, political management, tourism and amusements, aquariums, beach and surfer culture, and the coastline in American culture.

Chiang reports that her own research will likely build on her 2002 dissertation "Shaping the Shoreline: Environment, Society, and Culture in Monterey, California," and compare and contrast a similar topic in coastal Maine or New England history. Tourism or the sardine fishery are possible topics.

Having grown up in the suburbs of San Francisco, and having attended college and graduate school on the west coast, Chiang concedes she is "a long way from home" here in Brunswick. "But I'm greatly enjoying living out at the Coastal Studies Center on Orr's Island. It's incredibly beautiful out here!"

Chiang is a graduate of the University of California-Santa Barbara with a B.A. summa cum laude in history and environmental studies. She earned her M.A. and Ph.D. at the University of Washington, concentrating on environmental history, the American west, 20th century U.S., U.S. social history, and 20th century China.

About the CSC
Each year, the Coastal Studies Center (CSC) Scholar-in-Residence Program provides an opportunity for departments and programs at Bowdoin to invite scholars or artists from outside the College to engage in research or related activities that will enhance their own programs and promote the intellectual growth of the CSC.

About 12 miles from campus on Orr's Island, the CSC occupies a 118-acre site surrounded on three sides by the ocean, and encompassing open fields, orchards and old-growth spruce-fir forest. Known as Thalheimer Farm, the CSC is devoted to interdisciplinary teaching and research. Each semester it is the home of a scholar-in-residence.

The CSC offers facilities and resources that support student and faculty research, and courses, focused on coastal settings and issues. With its marine biological laboratory (with flowing seawater for observation of live marine organisms), and terrestrial ecology laboratory (serving as a field station for research and study of coastal ecology, as well as an art studio), the CSC has played an active role in Bowdoin's programs in biology, environmental studies, geology, archaeology, and studio art.

Past scholars-in-residence have included painter Lucy Barber, photographer Nigel Poor, and marine biologist Dean McCurdy.

Click here to visit the Coastal Studies Center Web site.

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