Online lecture Rivers, Territories and Power. Water Justice Movements and Counter-mapping to Bridge River Struggles

The faculty of Italian Studies and Environmental Humanities at the University of St.Gallen is pleased to invite you to its Spring 2024 guest lecture:

Rutgerd Boelens: Rivers, Territories and Power. Water Justice Movements and Counter-mapping to Bridge River Struggles

Tuesday, May 14, 12:15 – 1:45 pm CEST
Online lecture: please register in advance here: https://lnkd.in/deHAJdpx

Mega-damming, pollution and depletion endanger rivers worldwide. Modernist imaginaries of ordering ‘unruly waters and humans’ have become cornerstones of hydraulic-bureaucratic and capitalist development. They separate hydro/social worlds, sideline river-commons cultures, and deepen socio-environmental injustices. However, myriad new water justice movements (NWJMs) proliferate: rooted, disruptive, transdisciplinary, multi-scalar coalitions that deploy alternative river–society ontologies, bridge South–North divides, and translate river-enlivening practices from local to global and vice-versa. In this guest lecture, Rutgerd Boelens presents a collective framework that conceptualizes ‘riverhood’ to engage with NWJMs and river commoning initiatives. It suggests four interrelated ontologies, situating river socionatures as arenas of material, social and symbolic co-production: ‘river-as-ecosociety’, ‘river-as-territory’, ‘river-as-subject’, and ‘river-as-movement’. Boelens further examines the Traveling Rivers initiative, linking grassroots activists, engaged academia and river commoning struggles through counter-mapping. Making rivers actively travel among six river conflict arenas in Colombia and Ecuador, the initiative seeks new grass-rooted understandings capable of strengthening ‘rivers of resistance’ that break away from river grabbing and imposed status quo river governance.

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