Archives – more fun than you’d think

Sometimes I wonder if I should’ve become a historian. My earliest obsession (that I recall) was with being an archaeologist, so perhaps there is just something of a disposition to wanting to know where things came from and how they sit amongst everything else. Or at least as much of everything else as you can reasonably task yourself with knowing.

These days I’ve been back in the archives; though I’m looking at fairly recent stuff focused on what went on in the 1970s, 80s and 90s that brought water to the global stage. So far, its been pretty fascinating. I spied what I believe to be an originating, if not the original source for the hotly contested notion in the 1992 Dublin Principles that water has an economic value in all of its competing uses.

I’ve also managed to detect how, if I’m not mistaken, the “mega-conferences” on water (for background see here [PDF] or here) come into line with several broader trends in global water governance. All of this terrain has been covered by others in various ways. But what I think is unique is that I’ve now forged an intellectual lineage that goes back to the 19th century. That is, I think I’ve now connected the dots that explain why a certain form of water management is conducive to these larger projects, and why others are not. Of course, we’ll have to wait and see if this is correct through the process of peer review and so forth, but I think I’ve got a pretty strong case coming together.

Back to the archives today.

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