Water, Society, Ecologies

Back in September last year I had the privilege of participating in a PhD course hosted jointly by the University of Aarhus and the University of Cape Town. From the course description:

Attending to the centrality of water to colonial expansion, the neoliberal trend towards privatising water services and access, and the relative invisibility of water in contemporary political economy, the course works with the materiality of water — liquid flows around hard surfaces; flows through bodies; urban streams and oceans; urban biogeochemistries — to develop in-depth critical thinking skills about water, its many political, social and economic framings, and their enactment in water-related infrastructures.

The course aims to offer a space in which graduates integrate social theory with water and its flows through bodies, rocks, rivers, economies, politics and society. It aims to explore different disciplinary knowledges and conceptualisations of water, and different ways of understanding both the histories and the futures of water. 

With such a fascinating description it’s no surprise that this was a brilliant course, with fantastic participants and coordinators. As part of it – as travel to Denmark wasn’t possible – I focused my assignments on a body of water closer to home, the Union Canal. However, due to Covid quarantining I wasn’t even able to go there – so I wrote about it using a mixture of memory, google maps and online searching. Given the limited engagement I was quite happy with the results.

Research in progress