New publications coming out in 2014

Shill alert! Here are the abstracts for some of my publications due out in 2014:

Historicising the hydrosocial cycle

In Water Alternatives (February issue):

Abstract: This paper examines the historical claims made in support of the hydrosocial cycle. In particular, it considers how arguments advancing the hydrosocial cycle make historical claims regarding modernist conceptions of what water is (i.e. H2O) and its fit with society. The paper gives special emphasis to the society/nature dualism and to the notion of agency as key sites of contest in arguments regarding the hydrosocial cycle. It finds that, while several versions of the hydrosocial cycle seek to advance a political ecology more sensitive to non-human actions, these same accounts often do not address the robust account of non-human agency in the historical record. Evidence is presented regarding water’s agency amongst late 19th and early 20th century architects of key water management norms in the United States. This evidence troubles accounts of the hydrosocial cycle that critique the US experience and suggests new directions for rethinking the role of historical and institutional norms in water policy.

Water management and the procedural turn: norms and transitions in Alberta

In Water Resources Management:

Abstract: Water management reforms promoting deliberative, decentralized decision making are often effected through new procedures designed to accommodate a range of stakeholder perspectives. This paper considers the role of political and ethical norms affecting this ‘procedural turn’ in order to understand the management of transitions in complex socio-technical systems. It examines both the discourse and practice of water reforms in Alberta, Canada in order to identify how new procedures were designed alongside changes to management institutions. It finds that the role of existing social and cultural contexts an uneasy fit with procedural norms theorized in deliberative models given historical practices of democracy. Using examples from the Alberta case, it draws out implications for understanding the procedural turn in water management and the role of norms effecting transitions toward sustainability.

False Promises: The contours, contexts and contestation of good water governance in Lao PDR and Alberta, Canada

In International Journal of Water Governance (with Nate Matthews):

Abstract: Good water governance in Lao PDR and Alberta, Canada emerged in different political contexts of, respectively, communism and democracy. Yet both espouse similar principles of participation, transparency and accountability. Drawing on multiple methods, this paper examines how contests over governance affect the adoption of, and mechanisms for, ‘good water governance.’ It gives particular emphasis to how both scale and context influence, and at times curtail, the promises of good water governance. In both Lao PDR and Alberta, we examine how governance mechanisms have been wielded by what we call closed communities. These communities are part of the dark side of water governance. They espouse good governance principles yet retain political power apart from them. We suggest good water governance is far from guaranteed by particular political systems, new institutions or even legislation.

How bad is BPA? A sobering assessment

Another talk from last year’s Radcliffe symposium. Dr. Hunt lays out a clear case for much closer attention to the effects of chemicals on human reproduction.

Uncut interview with Edward Burtynsky

An interview from earlier this year with Ed Burtynsky on water with the Ontario Water Keepers. His movie and work on water are available here and the film “Watermark” here.

No running water: documentary series on First Nations in Manitoba

This is a special investigative series from the Winnipeg Free Press and you can view it here, along with a number of articles and videos documenting the state of First Nations Drinking Water and Sanitation in Manitoba.

Approaches to the Anthropocene: a conversation with Latour and Descola

A recent talk at UBC, with a nice introduction:

How widespread are endocrine disruptors in water?


I was at this talk last year and thinking about it again recently. The video below has two speakers, with the issue of endocrine disruption starting around minute 55 with the introduction to the talk by Charles Tyler.

New Book: Christiana Peppard’s “Just Water”

Christiana Peppard’s new book is now out with Orbis books and available at amazon. It analyzes the value of fresh water at the intersections of hydrology, ecology, ethics, theology, and Catholic social thought. It is also very readable for the non-expert, which is no small feat given the topics it covers.

Just WaterJust Water: Theology, Ethics and the Global Water Crisis

Do we truly understand the significance of fresh water in an era of economic globalization? Aimed at the educated non-specialist as well as scholars, Just Water explores important aspects of the global fresh water crisis while also providing ethical analysis and principled recommendations about fresh water use and scarcity in the 21st century.

Ultimately, Just Water invites us to expand global discourse about the value of fresh water—unique, non-substitutable substance that serves as a baseline for human existence. At the same time this book offers tools for understanding and appreciating contemporary ethical problems posed by looming fresh water scarcity in the 21st century.

Wendell Berry: knowledge, ignorance and sustaining

Wendell Berry, always an interesting and resolute thinker, poet, farmer. Here is his recent talk at Yale.

Open access issue on geo-engineering from Env. & Planning A

This open access issue looks relevant and timely. If the links embedded below (I just copied and pasted) don’t work you can go to the journal site here.

Theme issue: Geoengineering
Guest editor: Kathryn Yusoff

The geoengine: geoengineering and the geopolitics of planetary modification 2799 – 2808
Kathryn Yusoff
Open Access Creative Commons License

Why solar radiation management geoengineering and democracy won’t mix 2809 – 2816
Bronislaw Szerszynski, Matthew Kearnes, Phil Macnaghten, Richard Owen, Jack Stilgoe
Open Access Creative Commons License

Geoengineering knowledge: interdisciplinarity and the shaping of climate engineering research 2817 – 2824
Bronislaw Szerszynski, Maialen Galarraga
Open Access Creative Commons License

Geoengineering and geologic politics 2825 – 2832
Nigel Clark
Open Access Creative Commons License

Taiaiake Alfred on transforming fundamental institutions, confronting colonization

Taiaiake Alfred from UVic gave this talk recently. Starts about 10 minutes in.

How do we transcend the relationships that have gone into forming the societies that we have inherited when they encompass injustices?