Brian Cook has the concept note up for a panel he’s organized at the Society for Social Studies of Science (4S) in San Diego this fall on the material politics of water. I’m looking forward to it!

Brian Cook's Research

Hi there,

I’m co-organising a session at the annual 4S (Society for Social Studies of Science) meeting (Oct 9-12 2013 in San Diego) on the topic of politics in the context of water management. Matthew Kearnes and I have put this together (mostly Matt) and we’d love any comments or suggestions you might have.

The outline for the session is below, including a list of the presenters: Judy Motion, Jeremy J. Schmidt, and Susie Pratt. We’re also really pleased to have Prof. Wiebe Bijker as a discussant. Here are the Abstracts: The Material Politics of Water.

Slippery Subjects: The Material Politics of Water 

It is increasingly being recognised that water is “intensely political” and that the politics of water are “implicated in contested relationships of power and authority” (Bakker, 2012, 616). Issues concerned with water quality, purification and the socio-technological infrastructures of water distribution…

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Writing update

I’ve spent the last couple of weeks holed up writing. Partly, this was to prepare for a great workshop on water held this last weekend here at Harvard. Historians, anthropologists, designers, geographers all working out ideas through papers we had circulated. It was great, and provided some very good feedback on my work. Toby Jones gave an exceptionally thoughtful response to a paper I presented and which I will be submitting for publication soon.

On Saturday evening James Wescoat gave a very compelling lecture on issues of sanitation and design, particularly the ways that certain ideas have traveled between the US and India. If you’ve not come across Dr. Wescoat’s work, here is a short interview with him:

At present, I’m working through the first part of the book I’ve tentatively titled Water and no Other. The project has taken some unexpected turns, particularly into the history of geology, which turns out to be a formative dimension of modern water policies in North America. The best part of this turn is getting a chance to examine Rudwick’s great work in Bursting the Limits of Time. At any rate, I think I will have the first 1/3 of the book in a complete draft by the end of May. The next two parts should come a bit more quickly as I’ve already done the research for them. Inevitably, I expect some rabbit-trails, detours and (of course!) summer to weigh in on the progress.

Likely by the end of May, I will also have followed through on my aim of making some sub-pages for the book that provide some background on where the project is headed and the shape it is taking.