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Interdisciplinary Critical Geographies of Water: social power and hydrological flows in the Anthropocene

Event Type
Department of Geography & GIS
Lecture Hall 2079 Natural History Buildubg
Oct 22, 2021   3:00 - 4:00 pm  
Dr. Maria Rusca, Department of Earth Sciences, Uppsala University, Sweden
This event is free and open to public
Department of Geography & GIS
Originating Calendar
Geography and Geographic Information Science

The Anthropocene marks the recognition of the role of human beings in altering virtually all spheres of the Earth System. This evidence has urged scholars from different disciplinary perspectives to foster interdisciplinary scholarship that examines natural and social processes relationally. In light of recent calls for an increased commitment to interdisciplinary endeavors, this paper examines the potential of a critical geography of water that crosses social and natural sciences. Questions on how to best research the relationship between water and society have been raised both in the field of critical geographies of water and (socio)hydrology. Yet, there has been little crossover between these disciplinary perspectives.


In the attempt of contributing to a more fruitful dialogue between disciplines, I first reflect on the existing and emerging conceptual and theoretical instruments to engage in interdisciplinary research and question some of the assumptions on the methodological and epistemological incompatibility between natural and social sciences. Next, drawing on my research on the urban metabolism of waterborne diseases in Maputo (Rusca et al, 2021, Annals of the American Association of Geographers) and on social-environmental extremes scenarios (Rusca et al, 2021, Earth’s Future) I present two conceptual-methodological approaches to undertake truly interdisciplinary research. I argue that an interdisciplinary critical approach can further understandings of how power and the non-human co-constitute the social world and hydrological flows and can contribute to advance conceptualizations of water as socionatures.

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