Throughout the summer of 2012, drought conditions in North America, Asia, and Africa raised worldwide concern over grain shortages and rising food prices. Meanwhile, catastrophic floods displaced thousands of people in the Philippines, Fiji, and Australia. For millions of people, finding safe drinking water is the most contested and politically fraught daily errand.
The contributors to this issue examine the historical processes that shape contemporary water issues. They focus on how state-sponsored water programs, from sewage treatment to irrigation to damming, radically transform local communities. Topics include caste legacies and waste management in India, dam building in nineteenth-century Egypt, North African emigration and municipal water policy in Paris, and contested water management programs in the Ecuadorean highlands. Collectively, in essays and photos, the authors investigate how water or its absence has affected human societies and seek to historicize the politics of the struggle to control one of our most crucial natural resources.
Contributors: Maria Teresa Armijos, Nancy Borowick, Claire Cookson-Hills, Nicole Fabricant, Robert A. Gilmer, Kathryn Hicks, David Kinkela, Nicolas Lampert, Erik Loomis, Hugh McDonnell, Teresa Meade, Ruth Morgan, Enrique C. Ochoa, James Smith, Stephanie Tam
David Kinkela is Associate Professor of History at SUNY Fredonia. He is the author of DDT and the American Century: Global Health, Environmental Politics, and the Pesticide That Changed the World. Enrique C. Ochoa is Professor of History and Latin American Studies at California State University, Los Angeles. He is the author of Feeding Mexico: The Political Uses of Food since 1910. Teresa Meade is Florence B. Sherwood Professor of History and Culture at Union College in Schenectady, New York. She is the author of A History of Modern Latin America: 1800 to the Present.