Water is a symbol of life, wisdom, fertility, purity, and death. Water also sustains and nourishes, irrigates our crops, keeps us clean and healthy, and contributes to our energy needs. But a strain has been put on our water resources as increased energy demands combine with the effects of climate change to create a treacherous environment. Individuals and communities around the globe increasingly face droughts, floods, water pollution, water scarcity, and even water wars. We tend to address and solve these concerns through scientific and technological innovations, but social and cultural analyses and solutions are needed as well.
In this edited collection, contributors tackle current water issues in the era of climate change using a wide variety of recent literature and film. At its core, this collection demonstrates that water is an immense reservoir of artistic potential and an agent of historical and cultural exchange. Creating familiar and relatable contexts for water dilemmas, authors and directors of contemporary literary texts and films present compelling stories of our relationships to water, water health, ecosystems, and conservation. They also explore how global water problems affect local communities around the world and intersect with social and cultural aspects such as health, citizenship, class, gender, race, and ethnicity.
This transformative work highlights the cultural significance of water—the source of life and a powerful symbol in numerous cultures. It also raises awareness about global water debates and crises.
Part 1: Water Natures: Culture, Identity, and Creativity Chapter 1. Liquidity Incorporated: Economic Tides and Fluid Data in Hito Steyerl’s Liquidity, Inc. Christina Gerhardt and Jaimey Hamilton Faris Chapter 2. Material States of Poetry: The Stanza Stones Emma Trott Chapter 3. Preying on Water: Hunting Spiritual and Environmental Rebirth on the Kentucky River in Selected Essays from Wendell Berry’s The Long-Legged House Andrew S. Andermatt Chapter 4. “Let everything that binds fall”: The Significance of Water in David Vann’s Fiction Sofia Ahlberg Chapter 5. Water-blind: Erosion and (Re)Generation in Colm Tóibín’s The Heather Blazing Julienne H. Empric
Part 2: Water Cultures: Nations, Borders, and Water Wars Chapter 6. A Clash of Water Cultures in John Nichols’ The Milagro Beanfield War Susan J. Tyburski Chapter 7. Watershed Ethics and Dam Politics: Mapping Biopolitics, Race, and Resistance in Sleep Dealer and Watershed Tracey Daniels-Lerberg Chapter 8. Thomas King Tells a Different Story: Dams, Rivers, and Indigenous Literary Hydromythology Rebecca Lynne Fullan Chapter 9. Shifting Tides: A Literary Exploration of the Colorado River Delta Paul Formisano Chapter 10. Poetry and Revolution on the Brink of Ecological Disaster: Ernesto Cardenal and the Interoceanic Canal in Nicaragua Jeremy G. Larochelle Chapter 11. “Bad for the glass”: Chinatown’s Skewed Rendition of the California Water Wars Robert Niemi Chapter 12. The Cinematic Portrayal of Water Wars in Bolivia and Ecuador Laura Hatry
Part 3: Arid and Awash: High Pollution, High Energy Demands, and High Waters Chapter 13. Troubled Waters: Unveiling Industrial Negligence in Three Deepwater Horizon Films Ila Tyagi Chapter 14. The River as Character in Niger Delta Poetry Idom T. Inyabri Chapter 15. Water and Mental Health in Three British Climate Fiction Novels Giulia Miller Chapter 16. There Will Be Blood: Water Futures in Paolo Bacigalupi’s The Water Knife and Claire Vaye Watkins’ Gold Fame Citrus Paula Anca Farca
Concluding Remarks About the Contributors
Paula Anca Farca is an author, editor, and associate professor at Colorado School of Mines where she teaches literature and environmental humanities courses.