1st Edition

Water, Knowledge and the Environment in Asia Epistemologies, Practices and Locales

Edited By Ravi Baghel, Lea Stepan, Joseph K.W. Hill Copyright 2017
    266 Pages 9 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    278 Pages 9 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The dramatic transformation of our planet by human actions has been heralded as the coming of the new epoch of the Anthropocene. Human relations with water raise some of the most urgent questions in this regard. The starting point of this book is that these changes should not be seen as the result of monolithic actions of an undifferentiated humanity, but as emerging from diverse ways of relating to water in a variety of settings and knowledge systems. 

    With its large population and rapid demographic and socioeconomic change, Asia provides an ideal context for examining how varied forms of knowledge pertaining to water encounter and intermingle with one another. While it is difficult to carry out comprehensive research on water knowledge in Asia due to its linguistic, political and cultural fragmentation, the topic nevertheless has relevance across boundaries. By using a carefully chosen selection of case studies in a variety of locations and across diverse disciplines, the book demonstrates commonalities and differences in everyday water practices around Asia while challenging both romantic presumptions and Eurocentrism. 

    Examples presented include class differences in water use in the megacity of Delhi, India; the impact of radiation on water practices in Fukushima, Japan; the role of the King in hydraulic practices in Thailand, and ritual irrigation in Bali, Indonesia.

    1. Contextualising the Anthropocene: The Cultures, Practices and Politics of Water Knowledge in Asia

    Ravi Baghel and Lea Stepan 

    2. Governing Fisheries and Marine Radiation in Japan after the Fukushima Nuclear Accident 

    Leslie Mabon and Midori Kawabe 

    3. Trans-disciplinary Analysis of Australian-Indonesian Monsoon Epistemologies and their Implications on Climate Change Adaptation Strategies 

    Sarah Casson 

    4. An Epistemological Re-visioning of Hybridity: Water/lands 

    Kuntala Lahiri-Dutt 

    5. Science as Friend or Foe? Development Projects Undermining Farmer-managed Irrigation systems in Asia’s High Mountain Valleys 

    Joseph K. W. Hill 

    6. Competing Epistemologies of Community-based Groundwater Recharge in Semi-arid North Rajasthan: Progress and Lessons for Groundwater-dependent Areas 

    Chad Staddon and Mark Everard 

    7. Traditional Knowledge and Modernization of Water: The Story of a Desert Town Jaisalmer 

    Chandrima Mukhopadhyay and Devika Hemalatha Devi 

    8. The Hydro-Ecological Self and the Community of Water: Anupam Mishra and the Epistemological Foundation of Water Traditions in Rajasthan 

    Daniel Mishori and Ricki Levi 

    9. Epistemological Undercurrents: Delhi’s Water Crisis and the Role of the Urban Water Poor 

    Heather O'Leary 

    10. Being-in-the-water, or Socialisation through Interactions with water in the Thermal Baths of Taipei 

    Nathalie Boucher 

    11. In the Eye of the Storm: Water in the Cross-currents of Consumerism, Science and Tradition in India 

    Neeraj Vedwan 

    12. Balinese Wet Rice Agriculture in Transition: Water Knowledge between a Sentient Ecology and the Pursuit of Development 

    Lea Stepan 

    13. Water Flows Uphill to Power: Hydraulic Development Discourse in Thailand and Power Relations Surrounding Kingship and Statemaking 

    David J.H. Blake 

    14. Waterscapes in Transition: Past and Present Reshaping of Sacred Water Places in Banaras 

    Vera Lazzaretti 

    15. Resettling a River Goddess: Aspects of Local culture, Development and National Environmental Movements in Conflicting Discourses on Dhari Devi Temple and Srinagar Dam Project in Uttarakhand, India 

    Frances A. Niebuhr


    Ravi Baghel is a postdoctoral researcher at University of Trier and is affiliated to the South Asia Institute, Heidelberg University, Germany. 

    Lea Stepan is a researcher at the Cluster of Excellence: "Asia and Europe in a Global Context" at Heidelberg University, Germany. 

    Joseph K. W. Hill is an assistant professor (visiting faculty) at the Department of Rural Management, Xavier Institute of Social Service, Ranchi, Jharkhand, India.

    "...this is a must read for the students and scholars of development studies, environment, sustainability, social sciences, humanities and geography across diverse disciplines." - Naresh Kumar, Loal Environment (2018)