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“Dam a River, Damn a People?”: Subverting dams in/through subaltern narratives
Philosophy and History, KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Philosophy and History of Technology, History of Science, Technology and Environment. (GIECO-Instituto Franklin)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3532-5062
Philosophy and History, KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Philosophy and History of Technology, History of Science, Technology and Environment. Scripps Institution of Oceanography.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3476-2567
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This paper analyzes how the symbolism of dams as material representations of Nation and Progress can be subverted through literary tropes. We show how, in a set of subaltern narratives, dams instead come to represent environmental degradation and cultural disintegration resulting from the slow violence brought about by the imposition of these infrastructures. The narratives, all examples of writer activism, portray “invisibilized” ethnic minorities―or “unimagined communities”―resisting real and fictional dam projects in several different locations around the world: the U.S. Southwest, the U.S. Northeast/Canada’s Southeast, northern Sweden, and western India.

Keyword [en]
dams, literary tropes, writer activism, subaltern narratives, slow violence, invisibilized communities.
National Category
Specific Literatures
Research subject
History of Science, Technology and Environment
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-206800OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-206800DiVA: diva2:1093862
Note

QC 20170508

Available from: 2017-05-08 Created: 2017-05-08 Last updated: 2017-05-08Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. A QUEST FOR ENVIRONMENTAL SOVEREIGNTY: Chicana/o Literary Experiences of Water (Mis)Management and Environmental Degradation in the US Southwest
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A QUEST FOR ENVIRONMENTAL SOVEREIGNTY: Chicana/o Literary Experiences of Water (Mis)Management and Environmental Degradation in the US Southwest
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The U.S. Southwest is a semi-arid region affected by numerous environmental problems. Chicana/o communities have been directly affected by such problems, especially ever since the region was annexed from Mexico by the United States in the mid-nineteenth century. From this moment onwards they lost their environmental sovereignty, mostly through their dispossession of the natural resources.

 

This environmental humanities dissertation focuses on the ethics, politics, and practices around water (management), for water is a key natural resource and a central element of Chicana/o cultural identity. It explores the ways in which Chicana/o culture is interconnected with environmental practices and sites in subaltern literary works about the Chicana/o experience. It investigates how the hegemonic Anglo-American environmental, political, and economic practices have challenged and undermined Chicana/o culture, identity, and wellbeing, and how this has been addressed in fiction; and it questions whether establishing such a connection adds any useful insights to the larger discussion on the global socio-environmental crisis. This dissertation also analyzes the writer activist character of the subaltern narratives of the corpus, with attention to the relevance of rhetoric in subverting and constructing environmental discourses and ethics.

 

By examining regional and border narratives, as well as fiction and non-fiction narratives about the socio-environmental struggles of other ethnic minorities in the Southwest and in other parts of the world, this dissertation puts literature about the Chicana/o experience in a regional, national, and transnational context. It moreover explores the pivotal role of literature in reclaiming environmental sovereignty, in asserting cultural identities, and in countering the environmental crisis by imagining alternative managerial practices and socio-environmental relations, as much as in challenging cultural hegemonies.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2017. 183 p.
Series
TRITA-HOT, ISSN 0349-2842 ; 2073
Keyword
Environmental humanities, ecocriticism, environmental history, comparative literature, U.S. Southwest, Chicana/o, subaltern literature, environmental justice, water, political ecology, postcoloniality, decoloniality., Miljöhumaniora, ekokritik, miljöhistoria, litteraturhistoria, sydvästra USA, Chicana/o, subaltern litteratur, miljörättvisa, vatten, politisk ekologi, postkolonialitet, dekolonialitet.
National Category
History of Technology
Research subject
History of Science, Technology and Environment
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-206580 (URN)978-91-7729-386-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2017-06-02, F3, Lindstedtsvägen 26, våningsplan 2, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

QC 20170508

Available from: 2017-05-08 Created: 2017-05-05 Last updated: 2017-05-08Bibliographically approved

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