Join GSAS Dean Emma Dench for a conversation with Karen Thornber, PhD ’06, Harry Tuchman Levin Professor in Literature and Professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations, acting chair of Regional Studies–East Asia and vice president/president-elect of Phi Beta Kappa Alpha Iota of Massachusetts, as she explores the intersections of environmental health, climate change, mental health, and inequality.

Following the speaking program, enjoy a festive reception and stimulating conversations with fellow alumni and friends!

The event is open to all Harvard alumni and is part of a yearlong series of events honoring GSAS’s sesquicentennial. Find out more about 150 years of GSAS!


Times are Singapore Time (SGT), UTC +8

6:00 p.m.       Doors open for registration
6:30 p.m.       Program begins
7:30 p.m.       Reception


Lotus Room, Shangri-La Hotel

Event Cost

GSAS alumni: US $20
Recent Harvard graduates (’17–’22): US $20
Non-GSAS Harvard alumni and guests: US $25

This event is open to all Harvard alumni and their registered guests.

Questions? Contact the GSAS Office of Alumni Relations.

Harvard University and the Graduate School Alumni Association encourage people with disabilities to participate in its programs and activities. If you anticipate needing any type of accommodation or have questions about the access provided, please let us know in advance at


Karen L. Thornber

Karen Thornber

Karen Thornber is the Harry Tuchman Levin Professor in Literature and Professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations at Harvard University, where she is also acting chair of Regional Studies–East Asia and vice president/president-elect of Phi Beta Kappa Alpha Iota of Massachusetts. Her current book project, Narrating (Environ)mental Distress, engages with intersections among environmental health (including climate change), mental health, and inequality. Professor Thornber is the author of four additional major scholarly monographs. Most recent are Gender Justice and Contemporary Asian Literatures (expected publication 2023) and Global Healing: Literature, Advocacy, Care (Brill 2020). Professor Thornber’s two previous major scholarly monographs both won multiple international awards: Ecoambiguity: Environmental Crises and East Asian Literatures (Michigan 2012) and Empire of Texts in Motion: Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Taiwanese Transculturations of Japanese Literature (Harvard 2009). 

In addition, Professor Thornber has published more than 80 academic articles and chapters on a range of fields (e.g., medical humanities, health humanities, environmental humanities, diaspora, imperialism, transculturation, translation, gender, inequality, and injustice), is editor or coeditor of several volumes including Global Indigeneities and Environment, and an award-winning translator of Japanese literature. Thornber has held many leadership positions at Harvard, including Victor and William Fung Director of the Asia Center, acting director of the Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies, C\chair of Comparative Literature, and chair of Regional Studies–East Asia.