Six Rivers in Historical Time: Nature-Human Interactions on Himalayan Rivers

February 16, 2018 - 10:00 am to 5:30 pm

A Joint Workshop by Triangle East Asia Colloquium (TEAC) and Global Asia Initiative (GAI)


The workshop will present six papers discussing human-nature historical relationships on six major rivers in Asia: the Yangzi, Mekong, Indus, Ganges, Brahmaputra, and Yellow. Their vastly different ecologies played an important part in shaping the riverine communities as well as the ways in which the communities attempted to utilize, control and manipulate the rivers in the pre-modern and modern period. The rivers had a significant role in the socio-economic, political and cultural development on a regional, national and international scale. Researchers have attempted to interpret the complex human-river relationships from many perspectives, including property rights regimes, history of disasters, and fisheries management.

The TEAC/GAI workshop brings together scholars with deep familiarity about each of the six rivers in order to gain a comparative understanding of how different communities and political powers interacted with the river and its valleys and plains. How did the river ecology shape the everyday life of the riverine communities? What were the local practices in managing rivers? What were the unexpected (or semi-expected) consequences and how did communities and state manage these problems (eg floods, salinization, sand bar and polder cultivation etc)? What are the advantages of a long-term and comparative view of human-river relationships? In particular, we are interested in major turning points of human-river relationships.



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  • Asian/Pacific Studies Institute
  • Global Asia Initiative

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  • Conference