Gepubliceerd op 17-02-2020

CALL FOR PAPERS FOR A SPECIAL ISSUE OF «Contemporanea. Rivista di storia dell’800 e del ’900» Water, power, and politics. An environmental history

Environmental history is a well-established subfield in historiography. It intersects multiple areas of investigation, and combines successfully diverse methodological approaches. This pluralism is both a strength, and one of the main reasons of interest toward environmental history in the wider scientific community. The renewed centrality of environmental questions in the public arena renders the study of environment and society at large, and therefore also in history, even more relevant. For all these reasons “Contemporanea”, a review specialized in the history of the 19th and 20th centuries, will devote a special issue to environmental history.

This special issue of “Contemporanea” will focus on the political dimensions of water in contemporary history. Water occupies an important place in environmental history scholarship. Water systems are central to the construction and reproduction of human societies and, therefore, shed light on issues ranging from modes of production to available technologies, from competition and control of natural systems to the role of institutions and administrative systems, and more.

Some of the earliest works in environmental history discussed the political and institutional dimensions of water history (Worster 1986, Steinberg 1991), but subsequent scholarship has privileged the study of material and ecological configurations of water bodies. This special issue of “Contemporanea” aims to put water politics, power, and institutions at the center of the historical analysis and to question once again their significance in the environmental history of water.

Environmental historians have proved the importance of replacing so-called “water resources” within larger and broader environmental and hydrological systems, from which they are extracted and upon which they depend. Therefore, our special issue aims to collect a strong set of articles focusing on specific water bodies (aquifers, rivers, lakes, seas…) rather than on water resources in general. Starting from this environmentally informed perspective, the special issue aims to shed light on the competition for the use and control of water bodies, the institutions and political actors that participate in this competition, as well as the forms of political regulation and governance of water bodies.

Contemporanea thus invites environmental and water historians, having different scientific backgrounds and cultural backgrounds, and using multiple methodological approaches, to submit proposals on political and institutional dimensions of the history of water in any geographical region during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Historical forms of ownership of water bodies
  • Governance and administrations of water bodies
  • Law and court cases on water bodies
  • Conflicts of appropriations and use of water bodies
  • Water bodies and warfare
  • Knowledge and governance of water systems
  • Inter and transnational diplomacy of water bodies
  • Politics of pollution and contamination

Please send a 400-word abstract in English along with a 2-pages CV of the author(s) to guest editors Simone Neri Serneri (simone.neriserneri@unifi.it) and Giacomo Parrinello (giacomo.parrinello@sciencespo.fr) as well as  to the managing editor (contemporanea@mulino.it) by April 30, 2020. We aim to inform of the selection result by June 30, 2020. Selected authors will have to submit their final version of the article for double-blind peer review by April 30, 2021. Articles must be written in English and have a length comprised between 10,000 and 12,000 words inclusive of references. We expect the special issue to be published by April/June 2022.

For further information on “Contemporanea”, please see https://www.mulino.it/riviste/issn/1127-3070

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