Philippe Forêt

Table of contents

Link to Research Group page (PD Dr. Marcus Hall)

Research Interests

Areas: Environmental geography, environmental history, history of climate, Sino-European cooperation in science and technology, modern and contemporary China

I am a human geographer with a PhD degree from the University of Chicago. My activities and those of my teams have focused on scientific expeditions, Sino-European exchanges in the arts and sciences, the history of the geosciences, and the long-term interactions of nature with culture in Asia. I am a member of the Society of Fellows of the Rachel Carson Center at Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich, and hold a courtesy appointment in environmental studies at the University of Zurich. With Marc Hall and Christoph Kueffer, I have co-directed “Environmental Humanities Switzerland,” a program of the Swiss Academic Society for Environmental Research and Ecology that we founded in 2013.


Education and Professional Positions

2017 - present Fellow and Member of the Society of Fellows, Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society (RCC), Ludwig-Maximilians University (LMU), Munich, Germany
2015 - present Professor of Environmental History, Department of History, Philosophy and Religious Studies, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Nazarbayev University, Astana, Kazakhstan
2015 - 2016 Department Chair, Department of History, Philosophy and Religious Studies, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, NU2014-present. Since 2014. Courtesy appointment, Department of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies, University of Zurich, Switzerland
2013 - present Co-Director, “Environmental Humanities Switzerland,” Swiss Academic Society for Environmental Research and Ecology, Switzerland
2012 - 2014 Senior Research Fellow, Chair of Chinese Studies, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, St. Gallen University, Switzerland
2009 - 2012 Visiting Professor, Institute of Oriental Languages, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden
2008 - 2009 Associate Professor (with tenure), School of Contemporary Chinese Studies, University of Nottingham, United Kingdom
2002 - 2007 Research Fellow of the Swiss National Science Foundation and the Gerda Henkel Foundation, Institute of Cartography and Geo-information, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, ETH Zurich, Switzerland
1997 - 2001 Assistant Professor (tenure-track), Geography Department, University of Oklahoma, USA
1995 - 1997 Assistant Professor (tenure-track), School of Asian Studies, University of Texas at Austin, USA
1990 - 1995 Postdoctoral fellowships at Tokyo University, Tokyo; Collège de France, France, and the University of California at Berkeley, USA
1992 Ph.D. in Geography, Division of the Social Sciences, University of Chicago, Illinois, USA

More detailed CV (DOCX, 163 KB)


  • Dunnell R., Elliott M., Forêt P., Millward J., eds. (2011 and 2004). New Qing Imperial History. London: Routledge (282 pages)
  • Forêt P. and Kaplony A., co-eds. (2008). The Journey of Maps and Images on the Silk Road. Leiden: Brill, 2008 (243 pages)
  • Forêt P. (2004). La véritable histoire d’une montagne plus grande que l'Himalaya: Les résultats scientifiques inattendus d'un voyage au Tibet. Paris: Editions Bréal (287 pages)
  • Baud A., Forêt P., Gorshenina S. (2003). La Haute-Asie telle qu’ils l’ont vue: Explorateurs et scientifiques de 1820 à 1940. Geneva: Editions Olizane (144 pages)
  • Forêt P. (2000). Mapping Chengde. The Qing Landscape Enterprise. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press (209 pages)

Recent Articles and Book Chapters

  • Pei Q., Forêt P., Hall M. (2018). "Introduction to the Climate Records of Imperial China." Environmental History 22 (3)
  • Pei Q., Zhang D., Li GD, Forêt P., Lee H. (2016). “Temperature and Precipitation Effects on Agrarian Economy in Late Imperial China.” Environmental Research Letters 11 (6)
  • Kueffer C., Forêt P., Hall M. (2015). Developing the Environmental Humanities In Switzerland: An evaluation of Opportunities, Challenges and Priorities in Research, Teaching and Institutional Support. EH-CH research report of the Swiss Academic Society for Environmental Research and Ecology. Bern: Swiss Academy of Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Forêt P. (2014). “Challenges to Fieldwork Before 1914 and Today: Adaptation, Omission, and Rediscovery.” Hall, M. and Kupper P., eds. Crossing Mountains: The Challenges of Doing Environmental History, Rachel Carson Center Perspectives series. Munich: LMU and Deutsches Museum, 9-19
  • Forêt P. (2015). “Rua de Macau 澳門街: Heterotopic Urbanity in the Celebration of Place, Memory and Identity.” Studies in History and Theory of Architecture 3, (105-114)
  • Kueffer C., Forêt P., Hall M. (2015). “Seeing the Environment through the Humanities: A New Window on Grand Societal Challenges.” Gaia. Ecological Perspectives for Science and Society 2
  • Forêt P., Mazzalovo G. (2014). “The Long March of the Chinese Luxury Industry Toward Globalization: Questioning the Relevance of the 'China Time-Honored Brand’ Label.” Luxury: History, Culture, Consumption 1 (133-154)17-35.
  • Kueffer C., Forêt P., Hall M. (2014). “Developing the Environmental Humanities: A Swiss Perspective.” Gaia: Ecological Perspectives for Science and Society 1