Lower basin of the Guadalquivir River: The intensive monoculture of rice, olive trees, and berries, and the irregular groundwater extraction, has led to the over-explotation of the region’s aquifers and to the desertification of the whole lower area, especially along the marshes of the river’s estuary known as the Doñana wetland. The fierce agro-industry deployed in this territory is not only responsible of the over-exploitation of the land and water of the region, but of the appalling living and working conditions of migrant women labourers. Feminist and environmental activists, researchers, and local small farmers spread out along the lower river basin have pointed out the conflict between the socio-ecological integrity of the river and the exploitative paradigm of the agro-industry by pushing forward multiple initiatives (e.g urban gardens, agroecological education programs, restoration of creeks and riparian forests) as part of a ‘new water culture’.

PhD researcher: Carolina Cuevas

This PhD action-research project sets out to critically examine the manifold attempts to regenerate, repair, and protect damaged riverine socio-ecologies in contexts of multiple socio-environmental injustices. Drawing from feminist political ecology, hydrosocial territories scholarship and feminist conceptualizations on care, the aim of this research is to understand how have riverine hydrosocial territories been (re)configured through practices of care in response to multiple modern-colonial socio-environmental transformations. Thus, recognizing the contested nature of hydrosocial territories, and traveling between multiple human and more-than-human actors and temporal-spatial scales, this research will examine caring practices in their affective, ethical, political, and epistemic dimensions while attempting to understand how they have (re)configured riverine territories. To do this, through art-based methods and counter-cartographies stemming from feminist, decolonial, and participatory action-research methodologies, this research will study the upper basin of the Lebrija river in Colombia and the lower basin of the Guadalquivir river in Spain. Cross-pollinating these two case studies will allow to ponder how caring practices challenge the modern-colonial hegemonic human-water relations through which rivers are currently managed and governed, offering theoretical and methodological tools to support endangered riverine socio-ecologies and struggles towards intersectional socio-environmental justice.