"The Great Hydraulic Transition: Modern Origins of Land and Rivers in SouthAsia"
Rohan D'Souza, Associate Professor at the Department of History, Shiv Nadar
Most writings on lands and rivers in South Asia have disingenuously
accepted the "politics of separations." Land as property and river as
resource, thus, are overwhelmingly recognized as distinct conceptual
domains. Histories about land settlements, rent extraction, the burdens of
revenue, legal ownership, or the commons have occupied discussions only as
the political economy of the soil. Rivers, on the other hand, became a
technical subject involving infrastructure and the biographies of
engineering and control. Professor D'Souza will argue that this politics of
separations acquired a defining force in the region only through the course
of the long nineteenth century. An amphibian South Asia with its soil-water
admixtures actually characterized its environmental and social worlds
before being transformed into the reptilian terrain of colonial modernity.
Biography: Rohan D'Souza is Associate Professor at the Department of
History, Shiv Nadar University, India and the author of *Drowned and
Dammed: Colonial Capitalism and Flood Control in Eastern India
(1803-1946),*Oxford University Press, 2006. His edited books include *The
British Empire and the Natural World: Environmental Encounters in South
Asia* (Oxford University Press, 2011) and *Environment, Technology and
Development: Critical and Subversive Essays *(Orient BlackSwan: Hyderabad,
2012). His interests and research publications cover themes in
environmental history, environmental politics, non-traditional security,
sustainable development and modern technology.