17 April 2017

Water Politics Syllabus & Resources

We have been seeing some very interesting discussions and resources emerging around water politics recently.

Image from "The Rights of the Whanganui River" (Peeps)
In addition to the many discussions happening in relation to #NODAPL and the importance of water to indigenous communities and ways of life in North America, the struggles for access to clean and safe drinking water in places like Flint, Michigan and across reserves in Canada, in March, you may have read the news that a Māori community has been successful in their battle to have New Zealand grant the Whanganui River the legal rights of a person. (The anthropological magazine Peeps published a beautiful photo essay on "The Rights of the Whanganui River" in their second issue earlier this year -- unfortunately, not available online.)

In response to these shifts and public spotlights, we offer readers a couple of interesting resources for thinking and teaching about water politics.

First, we'd like to draw attention to the thematic issue of the Canadian journal of anthropology, Anthropologica, published this past fall (Volume 58, Issue 2): An Amphibious Anthropology: The Production of Place at the Confluence of Land and Water, guest edited by Karine Gagné and Mattias Borg Rasmussen. Contributors to this issue draw on their ethnographic research to share insights into water politics and issues in the Himalayas, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Peru, and North America.

Each of these articles from Anthropologica would be a valuable addition and anthropological contribution to this already well-rounded (anthropology, geography, environmental studies) syllabus: "Water Rights and Social Protest: Politics, Governance, and the Meanings of Access" designed by Jake Blanc and Stepha Velednitsky (graduate students at the Center for Culture, History, and Environment (CHE), Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison). 

Quick links and further reading: