The Hydrologic Cycle and Historical Societies Workshop

February 18, 2022 (All day) to February 19, 2022 (All day)

In the social disciplines, the role of water in its various forms—saline oceanic, freshwater, ice, snow, vapor, humidity—on terrestrial life has been under-studied historically and even contemporaneously, particularly in land-oriented societies. Land-centered visions of life persist even though 71% of the planet is water and holds 99% of habitable space for living beings. The urgency to enlarge our understanding derives from the current condition of climate change where the greatest threat to terrestrial lives comes from the oceans and their effects on weather and climate on the earth’s land surface. By centering the hydrological cycle in our analysis, we move from the previous sedentary categories that hitherto neatly described separations such as land and river to one that grapples, within a single frame, process, dynamism and recurring change such as evapotranspiration, condensation and precipitation. No longer is it merely the flat geometry between the terrestrial and the ocean but by acknowledging the hydro-cycle we focus on the perpetual triangulation between land, water and the atmosphere. The goal of this workshop is to explore in a preliminary, inter-disciplinary way the varieties of human understandings, imaginations and practices in relation to the hydrologic cycle in both historical and contemporary societies.

Workshop Participants

Clark Alejandrino, Georgetown University

Sunil Amrith, Yale University

Chris Reed Coggins, Bard College at Simon’s Rock (Open Society University Network)

Christopher Courtney, University of Durham

Dilip da Cunha, Columbia University.

Rohan D’Souza,  Kyoto University

Arunabh Ghosh, Harvard University

Micah S. Muscolino, University of California, San Diego

Helen Rozwadowski, University of Connecticut, Avery Point

James C. Scott, Yale University

Murugesu Sivapalan, University of Illinois

Philip Steinberg, Durham University

James Wescoat, Jr, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Ling Zhang, Boston College

For detailed information about the workshop, please visit the workshop website.

Contact name
919 681 3262

More event info


  • Global Asia Initiative