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Week 3

Thursday 18 October

-Two-hour seminar: Rivers
  • Primary sources

1-Listen to this song:

Woody Guthrie, ‘Talking Columbia’, 1941-

2-Watch the trailer of this movie by John Boorman, “Deliverance”, 1972

  • Secondary sources

Christof Mauch and Thomas Zeller (eds), Rivers in History. Perspectives on Waterways in Europe and North America, (Pittsburgh, University of Pittsburgh Press, 2008), Introduction, pp. 1–11

Elizabeth C. Economy, The River Runs Black: The Environmental Challenge to China’s Future, (Ithaca, Cornell University Press, 2004), Chapter One, pp. 1–27

Samer Alatout, Chap. 8, “Hydro-Imaginaries and the Construction of the Political Geography of the Jordan River”, in Diana K. Davis and Kenneth Burke III, (eds.), Environmental Imaginaries of the Middle East and North Africa (Athens, Ohio University Press, 2011)

Seminar questions
1-How is ‘nature’ represented in the primary documents?
How might we discuss these documents in terms of environmental history?How might we talk about nature having an agency in these two documents?

2-What are the main functions of rivers? How have they been used for centuries by humans? What sort of economic activities have they enabled? Try to give examples based on your understanding of secondary readings.

3-What is the environmental impact of human activities on rivers?
Do you agree with the argument that humans “can tame rivers”?

4-'Economic development of river environments is not compatible with the protection of their natural ecosystems'. Discuss.