Water: History, Power, Crisis
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This issue of Radical History Review historicizes the processes or problems that shape our contemporary water issues. In particular, we examine multiple histories of water through the concept of crisis. As the articles in this issue describe, strategies to alleviate a water crisis oftentimes strengthened existing forms of power, while dislocating and marginalizing other groups.
Stephanie Tam examines the history of sewerage in Ahmedabad, India to analyze the failure of modernization and technological change to solve the problem of manual scavenging by “Untouchables.” Hugh McDonnell explains how French water policy marginalized immigrant communities in the Parisian bidonvilles. Claire Cookson-Hills reexamines the history of the Aswan Dam to suggest that local knowledge about water and irrigation took a back seat to the technocratic aspirations of British engineers. Maria Teresa Armijos investigates how indigenous resistance movements in Highland Ecuador organized in an effort to control local water systems through collective management.
Ruth A. Morgan and James L. Smith explore a long chronology of European water traditions to show that twenty-first century water dilemmas are not recent inventions. Nicole Fabricant and Kathryn Hicks reconsider the legacies of Bolivia “water wars.”
Nicolas Lampert and Raoul Deal examine the meaning and politics of Milwaukee’s designation as a “water capital.” Nancy Borowick documents the political and public health impact of the water crisis in Ghana.
Teaching Radical History
Robert A. Gilmer reflects on a course he designed and taught at the University of Minnesota titled, “Oil and Water: The Gulf Oil Spill of 2010.”
Erik Loomis reviews some recent documentary films on the water crisis.