Great new book from Karine Gagné: Caring for Glaciers: Land, Animals, and Humanity in the Himalayas

This is a great looking new title from Karine Gagné at the University of Guelph.

Available here from University of Washington Press, where the blurb below is also from.

GAGASGRegional geopolitical processes have turned the Himalayan region of Ladakh, in northwest India, into a strategic border area with an increasing military presence that has decentered the traditional agropastoralist economy. This in turn has led to social fragmentation, the growing isolation of elders, and ethical dilemmas for those who strive to maintain traditional subsistence activities. Simultaneously, climate change is causing glaciers – a vital source of life in the region – to recede, which elders perceive as the consequence of a broken bond with the natural environment and the deities that inhabit the landscape.

Caring for Glaciers looks at the causes and consequences of ongoing social and cultural change in peoples’ relationship with the natural environment. It illuminates how relations of reciprocity – learned through everyday life and work in the mountains with the animals, glaciers, and deities that form Ladakh’s sacred geography – shape and nurture an ethics of care. Integrating contemporary studies of affect, landscape, and multispecies anthropology, Caring for Glaciers contributes to the anthropology of ethics by examining the moral order that develops through the embodied experience of life and work in the Himalayas.

Karine Gagné is assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Guelph.

“The idea of morality serves as an axis for Gagné to bring together climate change, geopolitical tensions within and between nations, and the dilemmas of Indigenous peoples faced with the forces of nationalism and globalization.”
-Benjamin Orlove, anthropologist and professor of international and public affairs, Columbia University

“A timely and important foregrounding of the complex assemblage of human environmental relationships in the Himalayas.”
-Mona Bhan, coauthor of Climate without Nature: A Critical Anthropology of the Anthropocene

“Karine Gagné offers a perceptive and ethnographically rich monograph to the growing field of borderlands studies in high Asia and boosts our awareness of the Human-Nature bond on these margins.”
-Jean Michaud, coauthor of Frontier Livelihoods: Hmong in the Sino-Vietnamese Borderlands

 

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New Book – Our history is the future: Standing Rock Versus the Dakota Access Pipeline, and the Long Tradition of Indigenous Resistance

Nick Estes has been writing about Indigenous resistance at Standing Rock in powerful ways, so his new book coming in just over one month’s time is one I look forward to reading (also a co-edited book here!)

Here is the book description from Verso (available elsewhere too, I believe with Penguin/Random House in Canada):

How two centuries of Indigenous resistance created the movement proclaiming “Water is life”

 

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In 2016, a small protest encampment at the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota, initially established to block construction of the Dakota Access oil pipeline, grew to be the largest Indigenous protest movement in the twenty-first century. Water Protectors knew this battle for native sovereignty had already been fought many times before, and that, even after the encampment was gone, their anticolonial struggle would continue. In Our History Is the Future, Nick Estes traces traditions of Indigenous resistance that led to the #NoDAPL movement. Our History Is the Future is at once a work of history, a manifesto, and an intergenerational story of resistance.

New book on Water Justice

9781107179080This looks like quite a nice collection from Cambridge University Press.

Water Justice

Edited by Rutgerd Boelens, Tom Perreault, and Jeroen Vos

Book description

Water justice is becoming an ever-more pressing issue in times of increasing water-based inequalities and discrimination. Megacities, mining, forestry, industry and agribusiness claim an increasingly large share of available surface and groundwater reserves. Water grabbing and pollution generate poverty and endanger ecosystems’ sustainability. Beyond large, visible injustices, the book also unfolds the many ‘hidden’ water world injustices, subtly masked as ‘rational’, ‘equitable’ and ‘democratic’. It features critical conceptual approaches, including analysis of environmental, social, cultural and legal issues surrounding the distribution and management of water. Illustrated with case studies of historic and contemporary water injustices and contestations around the world, the book lays new ground for challenging current water governance forms and unequal power structures. It also provides inspiration for building alternative water realities. With contributions from renowned scholars, this is an indispensable book for students, researchers and policymakers interested in water governance, environmental policy and law, and political geography.

Reviews

Advance praise:’This is a major book on the political ecology of water conflicts by the top experts in the field. It defines a new field of study, ‘water justice’. It’s a great addition to the study of local and global movements against environmental injustice with a focus on water-grabbing and unequal access to water for irrigation, mining, urban sanitation, and hydroelectricity.’

Joan Martinez-Alier – Emeritus Professor of Economics and Economic History, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

Advance praise’Boelens, Perreault and Vos have assembled a genuinely impressive set of authors to tackle the nature, meaning, and drivers of water injustices across the world, and to explore the possibilities of water justice. While the picture is far from rosy, the book provides rich theoretical and empirical perspectives through which to understand the inequities surrounding the control and use of water and to imagine alternative futures. This text will be a point of reference for many years to come.’

Anthony Bebbington – Australian Laureate Fellow, University of Melbourne, and Milton P. and Alice C. Higgins Professor of Environment and Society, Clark University, Massachusetts

Advance praise:’This timely and engaging volume by some of the world’s foremost scholars on water constitutes a loud sound of alarm. Not only that, it shows why liberal and neoliberal water rationalities … won’t work. Proposed instead is a sophisticated approach to the question of water as nature, and of its relation to justice, from which emerges a powerful framework for alternative hydrosocialities. By reminding us that what is at stake … is people’s very right to exist, Water Justice enables us to imagine and construct other paths for fair and wise water policies.’

Arturo Escobar – University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Advance praise:’It would be difficult to overstate the global significance of water injustice, which continues to be a major obstacle preventing millions of human beings from enjoying a dignified life. Water Justice addresses key aspects of this complex problem, bringing together a unique international team of scholars. This is not only a timely collection, but also one that provides access to rich theoretical arguments and empirical examples that allow an in-depth treatment of the topic. The book is a welcome contribution for academics, students, and practitioners, and will attract a wider readership among those concerned with the future of civilized human life.’

José Esteban Castro – Newcastle University

Advance praise:”Water justice!’ is the rallying cry of this book. It explores in a readable, illuminating and comprehensive way the multiple dimensions of water injustice and the diverse struggles to change these.’

Cristóbal Kay – International Institute of Social Studies, Erasmus University Rotterdam and the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London

My new book on Global Water Governance with Nathanial Matthews

Global environmental challenges 2017Very pleased to announce my new book, co-authored with Nathanial Matthews, is now out with Palgrave Macmillan. A description of the book is below (or here) and the publisher’s website is here. I was delighted by the endorsement from Carl Folke, as one of the key things the book strives for is to get at the core issues in a concise and clear manner.

Global Challenges in Water Governance: Environments, Economies, Societies

“A beautiful synthesis of the emergence of water governance, its significance in human affairs, and the challenges it entails on a human dominated planet. Short, comprehensive, and easy to read. I can highly recommend it.” ~ Carl Folke, Science Director and Co-Founder of Stockholm Resilience Centre, Sweden

This book presents a historically situated explanation of the rise of global water governance and the contemporary challenges that global water governance seeks to address. It is particularly concerned with connecting what are often technical issues in water management with the social and political structures that affect how technical and scientific advice affects decisions. Schmidt and Matthews are careful to avoid the pitfalls of setting up opposing binaries, such as ‘nature versus culture’ or ‘private versus public’, thereby allowing readers to understand how contests over water governance have been shaped over time and why they will continue to be so.

Co-written by an academic and a practitioner, Global Challenges in Water Governance combines the dual concerns for both analytical clarity and practical applicability in a way that is particularly valuable both for educators, researchers, decision-makers, and newcomers to the complexities of water use decisions.

New paper in special issue on Helen Ingram’s legacy in water, politics, and governance

Very happy to have a new article out in the Journal of the Southwest and in a special double issue honouring the work of Helen Ingram. Full table of contents is here for the double issue, which includes pieces by Peter Gleick, Henry Vaux Jr., Marcela Brugnach, and others, and which Margaret Wilder skillfully edited and introduces.

My contribution begins with an event in Alberta, when Dr. Ingram was asked to join a special panel on monitoring the oil sands, and then resigned when the terms of reference stymied some of her basic commitments, such as to equity and engaging with Indigenous peoples. Entitled, Water Policy in Alberta: Settler-colonialism, community, and capital, I trace out how water policy has been structured in Alberta in ways that produce inequality and how it has evolved to put newer, glossier ideas (like water governance) into similarly inequitable structures. It is available to download by clicking here (or from my the ‘publications’ link above).

The River is in Us: Fighting Toxics in a Mohawk Community – Elizabeth Hoover

This title isn’t out until November, but it’s never too soon to pre-order.

From the University of Minnesota Press website:

image_cover_mediumMohawk midwife Katsi Cook lives in Akwesasne, an indigenous community in upstate New York that is downwind and downstream from three Superfund sites. For years she witnessed elevated rates of miscarriages, birth defects, and cancer in her town, ultimately drawing connections between environmental contamination and these maladies. When she brought her findings to environmental health researchers, Cook sparked the United States’ first large-scale community-based participatory research project.

In The River Is in Us, author Elizabeth Hoover takes us deep into this remarkable community that has partnered with scientists and developed grassroots programs to fight the contamination of its lands and reclaim its health and culture. Through in-depth research into archives, newspapers, and public meetings, as well as numerous interviews with community members and scientists, Hoover shows the exact efforts taken by Akwesasne’s massive research project and the grassroots efforts to preserve the Native culture and lands. She also documents how contaminants have altered tribal life, including changes to the Mohawk fishing culture and the rise of diabetes in Akwesasne.

Featuring community members such as farmers, health-care providers, area leaders, and environmental specialists, while rigorously evaluating the efficacy of tribal efforts to preserve its culture and protect its health, The River Is in Us offers important lessons for improving environmental health research and health care, plus detailed insights into the struggles and methods of indigenous groups. This moving, uplifting book is an essential read for anyone interested in Native Americans, social justice, and the pollutants contaminating our food, water, and bodies.

America’s water whiplash

This was originally published on the NYU Press Blog From the Square.

Jerry Brown must sometimes wonder why he isn’t called the water governor. In the 1970s he presided over a severe drought in California. Forty years later, he was governor again. The water? Gone once more. Both droughts eventually subsided—although subsided doesn’t capture the events of this past spring when intense rains pushed America’s tallest dam into code red.

The Oroville Dam towers 770 feet (225 meters) above where the water in its reservoir would like to rest. Even this colossal structure, however, proved no match for the new normal in which climate change can deliver water with a fire hose. As rain fell and water rose, the dam’s spillway was opened to relieve the reservoir. Soon, however, the scouring water eroded a large sinkhole in the concrete waterslide. As the sinkhole began to erode uphill towards the reservoir it forced a choice: close the spillway and let the waters keep rising or keep it open and hope erosion stops short of undermining the dam itself.

The spillway was shut, and engineers, politicians, and the 200,000 people evacuated downstream watched and listened nervously as the water bulged against earthen and concrete bulwarks. As the water breached the reservoir’s capacity the first drops began to trickle over the erstwhile engineering marvel. Then the torrent came. Water mixed with rocks and debris to overwhelm downstream waterways and wash away critical aquatic habitat. The only relief came by chance when the rains stopped before erosion from the overtopped dam ate into its foundations.

The Oroville Dam episode lies somewhere between bellwether and dodged bullet. On one hand, there is a flock of failing infrastructure potentially set to follow it. On the other, this acute crisis must be seen in the context of a now chronic mismatch between the ideas used to manage water and the environmental triggers being pulled by human pressure on the planet’s water. There are no small stakes in the matter. The price tag to repair Oroville Dam hovers near $275 million; but the cost of continuing to manage water under assumptions of climatic stability will almost certainly not stop there. It is a hydrological harbinger; globally, climate change will put trillions of dollars of global assets at risk in addition to altering the conditions affecting earthly life.

Contemporary water problems, however, aren’t the latest episode in epics of water and nature. They also don’t fit standard explanations that plot events like those at Oroville Dam on a bell curve modeled on normal variability. Something more troubling, and more demanding of explanation, is afoot.

What is fundamentally amiss is that the model used to deal with water’s chance events has been called out not only because it is inadequate to the challenge of climate change, but because it also had (and continWaterues to have) a role in creating the problems it seeks to solve. Historically, water management in America was based on a peculiar cultural myth in which dams like Oroville were not just good for society but demanded by evolution itself—they were good, on this account, for the planet. Ironically, this myth is now being called out by water itself.

Water treats truth and fiction alike: relentlessly. In an age when climate change sends torrential rains on good ideas and bad, and likewise withholds waters with equally impersonal disdain, many claim our current situation is so novel that we should wipe the slate clean—start anew with a full view of humanity as a planet shaping force. Surely we need new ideas, but they are going to play out on a landscape built by those previous. The Oroville Dam cannot be abandoned as it stands. Yet it is not sufficient to merely patch the problems when water’s erosive force is set to undermine the foundations of both material and myth.

Jeremy J. Schmidt is Assistant Professor of Geography at Durham University and the author of Water: Abundance, Scarcity, and Security in the Age of Humanity (NYU Press, 2017).

My new book! Water: Abundance, Scarcity, and Security in the Age of Humanity

FoylesI am very pleased to announce that my new book is out. Technically, Amazon and other outlets might not ship it until April 4th, but I saw it on the shelf at Foyles, and that is out in the wild enough for me.

There are descriptions on my site here, and at NYU Press here. From the NYU site the book can be purchased at a 20% discount using the code SPR17 at the check out.

I think the book will be of special interest to anthropologists and geographers in addition to those interested broadly about the history of ideas that have shaped water management. One of the key points of the book is that there was and remains a lot of traffic between the social sciences and policy makers, which hasn’t always proved positive for clear thinking about water, the state, and the academy. In fact, it is often failed strains of these disciplines that have the most effect on water management. So, in a way, the book is a history of losing ideas…ideas that lost both in intellectual circles by new ideas that surpassed them but also often lost from view. That is, these ideas that are alive and well in practice have gone virtually unaccounted for in the history of how water was managed to fit liberal societies to an account of geological agency that began in the 19th century and has carried through (indeed shaped) how water resources are understood in the Anthropocene.

Sandra Postel: Repairing the Water Cycle

Originally a podcast…

CFP: Indigenous Peoples and the Politics of Water

I’ve copied below the CFP for a special issue, see original here.

Special Issue CFP: Indigenous Peoples and the Politics of Water

Overview

[Feb 3, 2016] Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society invites articles from scholars, artists, activists, policy makers, and community members for a special issue of the journal exploring Indigenous peoples and the politics of water. Water is an ancient and sacred element of Indigenous epistemologies and ways of life. Water sustains, builds and inspires. In the contemporary context climate change, water security, and environmental destruction have captivated popular attention. A proliferation of scholarly and public works, as well as (inter)governmental working groups and summits, have emerged to address these interrelated issues.  We acknowledge the importance of these approaches to understanding and analyzing water. However, this issue is more concerned with the social and political properties of water than with identifying and articulating Indigenous “cultural” or “traditional” conceptions of water, or mainstream approaches that address water through frameworks of supply and demand, science, security, crisis, and scarcity.

Instead, we seek contributions that foreground critical historical, theoretical, and empirical approaches to understanding the politics of water. We contend that struggles over water figure centrally in salient concerns about self-determination, sovereignty, nationhood, autonomy, resistance, survival, and futurity that drive Indigenous political and intellectual work. In recent history, we have seen water assume a distinct and prominent role in Indigenous political formations. Recent examples range from the August 2015 Gold King Mine Spill, which dumped over three million gallons of toxic waste into the San Juan River and devastated Navajo farming communities in the northern part of the Navajo Nation to the continuing water struggles in California, and the water security issues that face First Nations peoples dealing with resource extraction in Canada. Indigenous peoples around the world are forced to formulate innovative and powerful responses to the contamination, exploitation, and theft of water, even as they are silenced or dismissed by genocidal schemes reproduced through legal, corporate, state, and academic means.

We also recognize that the politics of water is deeply intertwined with contemporary water security and policy issues that affect both Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples around the world. The responses and efforts to control water in both Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities have been consistently designed to serve the imperatives of settler colonialism. Indigenous analyses of these global issues in water politics are key–whether at grassroots, institutional, or governmental levels– to challenging, refusing, and revising the violence of such imperatives and building a better future.

This special issue stages a timely intervention into this urgent state of affairs, focusing on how water is taken up in fields of power conditioned by settler colonialism, normative Indigenous nationalisms, (neo)liberalism, Indigenous resistance, and capitalism. As an undisciplinary, open access journal dedicated to material struggles for decolonization, Decolonization is uniquely positioned for convening a collection of articles concerned with the invigoration of efforts to decolonize the genocidal politics of water. We seek contributions that address the politics of water in any number of diverse historical, political, tribal, or regional contexts. We also seek a diversity of perspectives and backgrounds, including environmental science, social justice, policy, literary, grassroots, activist, historical, and artistic approaches. However, we seek contributions that are characteristically rich in theory, research, critique, and analysis. Whether articulated through a politics of refusal, a critique of water law, or engagement with Indigenous epistemologies, we also seek contributions that advance a sustained and critical engagement with the idea and practice of decolonization. While you may choose to employ existing decolonial frameworks in your manuscript, we also welcome arguments that challenge the appropriateness of decolonization as a framework for understanding/interpreting water politics. Given the dearth of critical writings about this subject, we envision this issue as a landmark source for critical Indigenous perspectives on water that will generate vibrant discussion well into the future. Join us!

As part of this special issue, we will also be issuing a separate call for submissions (CFS) for a blog and online exhibit to accompany the more conventional article format outlined here. We see both halves of the special issue–the journal and the blog/online exhibit–as holding equal weight in making the special issue a success. We will begin to circulate the blog/online exhibit CFS in the early fall of 2016.

 

Guiding Themes for This Issue

 

  • Water and (settler) colonialism
  • Water and heteropatriarchy/heteronormativity
  • The politics of refusal
  • The politics of water settlements
  • Water as a social, cultural and political force
  • Water and comparative racializations
  • Water and resistance/social justice/resurgence
  • Water and capitalism
  • Water and (neo)liberalism/biopolitics
  • Water and violence
  • Water and power
  • Water and resource extraction (uranium, oil, coal, natural gas, copper, gold)
  • Water and state formation
  • Water and the law
  • Water and the ethics of tribal economic development
  • The politics of water security
  • Water and transnational/comparative configurations
  • The privatization of water
  • Water and urbanization
  • The politics of dams, reservoirs, and other diversion schemes
  • Water as a form of colonial dispossession
  • Water and the protection of sacred sites
  • Water and health/quality of life disparities
  • Water and agriculture/farming
  • Water and human rights/restorative justice/alternative paths for recourse
  • Water and youth
  • Water and art/cultural production/cultural politics
  • Water and militarization/policing
  • Water and fishing/treaty/customary rights

 

Deadlines & Submissions

  • Call for Submissions Published (February 2016)
  • Abstracts Due (April 4, 2016)

?      Abstracts should be between 300-500 words and include a title, author name(s), and a 150 word biography of the author(s)

?      Email your abstracts to crislingbaldy@mail.sdsu.edu and myazzi02@unm.edu

  • Submissions Due (August 31, 2016)

 

Contact Information

 

Cutcha Risling Baldy (Hupa, Karuk, Yurok)

Assistant Professor, American Indian Studies

San Diego State University

crislingbaldy@mail.sdsu.edu

 

Melanie K. Yazzie (Diné)

PhD Candidate, American Studies

University of New Mexico

myazzi02@unm.edu

 

A downloadable PDF version of this Call for Submissions can be found here.

 

For more information on Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society, visit the journal’s website at decolonization.org.