The Ideal River: How control of nature shaped the international order
with Dr. Joanne Yao
On Sustainability Now! Sunday, April 30th, 5-6 PM
Rivers have long been the object of poems, songs, novels, studies, fishers, swimmers, sewage, engineers, farmers and salmon. In California, rivers and the water in them are the focus of near-eternal political struggle. And, there is that old saying, attributed to Heraclitus, “one never steps into the same river twice.” Every river is different, yet there is some human drive to make every river the same: the ideal river.
Join SN! host Ronnie Lipschutz for a conversation about rivers with Dr. Joanne Yao, Senior Lecturer in the School of Politics and International Relations at Queen Mary University of London. Yao is the author of The Ideal River: How control of nature shaped the international order. Her book is about the Rhine, Danube and Congo Rivers. How they were reshaped and managed (or not) and the role they played in the imaginaries and emergence of the European imperialist order of the 19th century and in the shaping of nature around the world, before and since. Yao’s book has special relevance for California, where the struggle to make virtually all of our rivers ideal ones has been going on since the middle of the 1800s.