1st Edition

Water Lore Practice, Place and Poetics

Edited By Camille Roulière, Claudia Egerer Copyright 2022
    284 Pages 33 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    284 Pages 33 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Located within the field of environmental humanities, this volume engages with one of the most pressing contemporary environmental challenges of our time: how can we shift our understanding and realign what water means to us? Water is increasingly at the centre of scientific and public debates about climate change. In these debates, rising sea levels compete against desertification; hurricanes and floods follow periods of prolonged drought. As we continue to pollute, canalise and desalinate waters, the ambiguous nature of our relationship with these entities becomes visible. From the paradisiac and pristine scenery of holiday postcards through to the devastated landscapes of post-tsunami news reports, images of waters surround us. And while we continue to damage what most sustains us, collective precarity grows.

    Breaking down disciplinary boundaries, with contributions from scholars in the visual arts, history, earth systems, anthropology, architecture, literature and creative writing, archaeology and music, this edited collection creates space for less-prominent perspectives, with many authors coming from female, Indigenous and LGBTQIA+ contexts. Combining established and emerging voices, and practice-led research and critical scholarship, the book explores water across its scientific, symbolic, material, imaginary, practical and aesthetic dimensions. It examines and interrogates our cultural construction and representation of water and, through original research and theory, suggests ways in which we can reframe the dialogue to create a better relationship with water sources in diverse contexts and geographies.

    This expansive book brings together key emerging scholarship on water persona and agency and would be an ideal supplementary text for discussions on the blue humanities, climate change, environmental anthropology and environmental history.

    Foreword: ‘Salt Water Kin’

    Jill Jones

    Introduction: Flux and Change

    Claudia Egerer and Camille Roulière


    PART I

    Water Stories


    1. Sapphire stories: Disenchantment and sense of wonder in the underwater world

    Karin Dirke

    2. Imaginings of water: Anthropocene waters and the entanglement of the living

    Claudia Egerer  

    3. The blue anthropocene and the oceanic south: Reading containerisation and inundation diffractively

    Meg Samuelson

    4. Poetic economies of Walden: Keeping current(cy)

    Diane P Freedman

    5. Salt, water and sound: Translations from the Murray Mouth

    Camille Roulière

    6. The wild edge: A language for coastal landscapes

    Nicole Larkin


    Part II

    Water law and lore


    7. The WaterLore project: Mapping the sacred in cultural waters

    Gini Lee

    8. Te Mana o te Wai: Relating to and through the charisma of water

    Dan Hikuroa and Billie Lythberg

    9. Divining

    Stephen Muecke

    10. Water remembers: Drowning colonialism and swimming in wealth

    Brandy Nālani McDougall

    11. The weight of river stones

    Ali Gumillya Baker, Faye Rosas Blanch and Simone Ulalka Tur


    Part III

    (Re)imagining waters


    12. Call-and-response writing on water

    Louise Boscacci and Pip Newling

    13. Fresh water, salt water: Socially engaged art, collaboration and the environment

    Kim Williams and Lucas Ihlein

    14. Storied matter

    Deborah Wardle

    15. New perspectives on water significance: Joining art and science to communicate water ecology

    Anastasia Tyurina

    16. I am phytoplankton

    Kassandra Bossell


    Afterword: ‘if we stand…’

    Em König


    Camille Roulière is an early-career researcher and creative writer whose work focuses on spatial poetics. She was recently awarded a University Doctoral Research Medal for her PhD thesis entitled "Visions of Water in Lower Murray Country" (The University of Adelaide).

    Claudia Egerer is Associate Professor of Literature and Environmental Humanities in the Department of English at Stockholm University, Sweden. Both her research and teaching engage in rethinking the place of the human and the humanities in the Anthropocene. She is co-founder of the Environmental Humanities Network at Stockholm University and the research school in the Environmental Humanities at Stockholm University.