Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg

SAI - News

New book publications by Prof. Dr. Nüsser and Dr. Baghel
The Springer Verlag published two new books in the series „Advances in Asian Human-Environmental Research” by Prof. Dr. Marcus Nüsser (Head of Department of Geographie) and Dr. Ravi Baghel (Research Associate Department of Geographie).

In the new volume „Large Dams in Asia: Contested Environments between Technological Hydroscapes and Social Resistance” by Prof. Dr. Marcus Nüsser the various dimensions of the large dams controversy in Asia are critically analyzed and the complex relationships between landscapes, resources, and their modification by human land use are discussed.

This book explores the multi-dimensional asymmetries of scale, time, and directions in the large dam controversy with a regional focus on Asia, especially on India and China. Whereas the concept of large-scale transformation of fluvial environments into technological hydroscapes originated in the West, widespread construction of large dams started in the countries of the Global South in the period after decolonisation. Construction and operation of large dams are amongst the most prestigious but also most sensitive development issues, often accompanied by massive resistance of adversely affected people and civil society organisations. Based on the notion of a contested politicised environment, various case studies are analysed to identify the dominant narratives and imaginations that shape the large dams debate. This volume largely contains contributions related to several subprojects from within the Cluster of Excellence ‘Asia and Europe in a Global Context: Shifting Asymmetries in Cultural Flows’, based at Heidelberg University, with several expert contributions from external researchers.

Further information:

"River Control in India: Spatial, Governmental and Subjective Dimensions" by Dr. Ravi Baghel discusses the effects on the environment by river control projects from experts like large dams and embankments.

Large river systems throughout the planet have been dramatically transformed due to river control projects such as large dams and embankments. Unlike other major human impacts like anthropogenic climate change, the alteration of river systems has been deliberate and planned by a small, powerful set of experts. Taking India as a case study, this book examines the way experts transform the planet through their discourse by their advocacy of river projects. This book identifies the spatial aspects of the norms through which the ideal river and the deficient river in need of control are produced. The role of governmental rationality in explaining the seemingly irrational and counter-productive effects of large projects like Kosi river embankments is considered. Finally using autobiographical material, the subjectivity of expert advice is examined, questioning its presumed objectivity. By examining the different subjective stances arising from the same body of expertise, this book discusses the consequences this has for river control specifically, and for the relation between expertise and environmental change in general.

Further information:
31 Mar 2014
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