Hunter Powell Kennedy

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Chicago, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 10520

Approve Date

April 6, 2023

Project Title

Kennedy, Hunter (Chicago, U. of) "Far-Thinking: Technoscientific Projection, Climate Governance, and Bordertown Futures in Rural Northern Arizona"

In the American Southwest, the Colorado River provides water to over 40 million people and 6 million acres of agricultural land. The infrastructures which support this system are not only physical, but ideological as well: a ‘paper river’ of projections, forecasts, and estimates has long since accompanied these massive public works, and continues today amidst the Southwest’s worst drought in 1200 years. This project examines the social and material investments made by federal technoscience in the practices of resource projection, even as these objects of scientific inquiry seem to slip over the horizon. I locate this question at the Glen Canyon Dam, a controversial mega-dam on one of the most remote stretches of the Colorado River and the lynchpin of the Southwest’s vast water storage infrastructure. Through ethnographic fieldwork with hydrologists, ecologists, and geologists, as well as archival research at federal libraries, I interrogate the governmental/scientific nexus of resource management in the contemporary Southwest. I also contextualize it within regional histories of dispossession, turbulent environmental futures, and patchworks of American jurisdiction. Throughout, this project problematizes these issues through the lens of the ‘rural’, using local politics and action as a scale which helps complicate technoscientific narratives of planetary mastery.