Patrick Mbullo Owuor

Grant Type

Workshop Grant

Institutional Affiliation

York U.

Grant number

Gr. CONF-918

Approve Date

March 8, 2023

Project Title

Owuor, Patrick (York U.) "Hydrocolonialism: The politics and poetics of water infrastructure, the environment, and health"

Water is the frontline of climate change, and competition for water resources increases in areas where water is already scarce. In Africa, capital-intensive large water infrastructure development projects are displacing residents and their water heritages in favor of planned cities, industrialized agriculture, and hydroelectric power stations for energy exports. Mostly funded by concessional loans from rich countries, these contemporary infrastructures repeat past colonial legacies and patterns of extraction ranging from Ancient Egypt to Manifest Destiny. Such projects, compounded with more unpredictable weather patterns due to climate change, often undermine water heritage and greatly increase water insecurity among humans and other aquatic populations. This proposed two-day Hydrocolonialism workshop takes a multidisciplinary approach and brings together scholars from several universities and disciplines to interrogate the nexus between water infrastructure projects, the environment, and health. Drawing from anthropological insights, the workshop will act as a disciplinary nexus connecting the fields of anthropology, climate change, health, and new media (visual anthropology). The purpose of this multidisciplinary approach is to cultivate greater involvement of decision-makers and the larger population. In addition, we hope to create broadly conceived advocacy tools to advocate for more equitable and sustainable outcomes.