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.

America’s water cure towns

This is a very interesting piece from citylab, worth checking into if you find previous ways of thinking about human-water (and city!) relationships intriguing.

Water roundup: new books & reports on groundwater and security

Over the weekend I mentioned a new (open access) book on Water, Society, and Technology.

There are a couple of other new resources to be had, both from (or related to) work by the OECD.

The first is the new report “Securing water, sustaining growth” from the Global Water Partnership and the OECD, led by World Bank economist Claudia Sadoff and coauthored with numerous folks at Oxford and the GWP. You can download the full report by visiting this webpage.

A second book, also open access, is on groundwater and agriculture: Dry wells, rising stakes. You can download the book in French or English here. Here’s the short blurb on it: “Groundwater has provided great benefits to agriculture irrigation in semi-arid OECD countries, but its intensive use beyond recharge in certain regions has depleted resources and generated significant negative environmental externalities. The report provides a characterisation of the diversity of groundwater systems, reviews policies in OECD countries, and proposes a package of recommendations to ensure that groundwater can sustain its services to agriculture and contribute to climate change adaptation.”

Running Dry: Water, People, and the Planet in Marathwada, India

This is a very interesting series on water problems in Marathwada, India. Well worth the read, and certainly important for understands the broader interconnections and logics affecting people and water.

James Wescoat on Climate, Energy, and Water-conserving Design

Water security in the Anthropocene: planetary hydrology, global finance, and the new development nexus

A bit of self-promotion for an upcoming talk at the University of East Anglia if you happen to be in the UK in late October.

UEA poster

Water governance in the Anthropocene

Here is a lecture by Claudia Pahl-Wostl, a name those in the academic community on water research will be familiar with. I’m in La Crosse, Wisconsin looking out at the Mississippi and very much looking forward to the Water Ethics conference that begins tonight.

James Wescoat: Climate, Energy, and Water-Conserving Design