Radical History Review #116, "Water"
Call for Proposals
The Radical History Review seeks submissions for an issue on water. As the single most important life-sustaining resource on the planet, water has been one of the most contested terrains of human history. This special issue of the Radical History Review aims to examine how water or the absence of water has shaped the past and seeks to historicize how water has been used, regulated, explored, exploited, protected, wasted, and polluted. Increasingly, states and multinational corporations have attempted to privatize water on a global scale rather than recognize it as common right.
The ongoing "water wars" in Bolivia and India, for example, reveal a contentious struggle over water rights that reflect the economic disparity between the Global North and South. Water usage patterns between the Global North and South further compound the structural inequality surrounding contemporary water issues. On average, Americans consume nearly 25 gallons per day, while in many parts of Africa the average use per person is 1.5 gallons. This inequity underlies one of the most profound challenges to global justice in our world today.
Fresh water, however, accounts for only a tiny percentage (approx. 2.75 percent) of the total water on the planet, with much of this small percentage frozen in polar ice or trapped in underground aquifers. Ocean and seawater, conversely, constitute much of the
planet's water, creating a massive undersea world that humans have yet to fully comprehend. Yet despite its size and scope, these large expanses of water have not been immune to human history. Fishing, transportation, waste disposal, or nuclear testing, for example, have been some of the ways the human world has transformed the ocean world.
Historically, control and regulation of the ocean world has been a deeply complex and contested global issue.
What can radical historians say about water? This issue seeks to examine the historical processes or problems that shape our contemporary water issues. Conflict and power have played an integral role in determining how humans have interacted with, used, exploited, or protected this important natural resource. From floods to tsunamis, nature, too, has been a forceful and, at times, destructive agent of change. Water also becomes a space, of rivers, lakes, seas, and oceans that are central to contact, exploration, and trade. How can historians connect scholarship about riverine and ocean to understandings of water as a deeply contested resource and commodity?
We welcome works that examine the human impacts on individual bodies of water as well as works that address the interconnections between multiple water worlds. Possible submission may also include:
- The impacts of oil and gas production on water systems
- Fishing and aquaculture
- History of waste and water
- The regulation of transnational river systems
- Spatial conceptions of water and water systems
- Water as a global commodity
- The science of water and water safety
- The history of conflict over mineral resources in the oceans and seas
Radical History Review publishes material in a wide variety of forms. The editors will consider scholarly research articles as well as photo essays, film and book review essays, interviews, brief interventions, essays on museum and other public history forums, "conversations" between scholars and/or activists, teaching notes and annotated course
syllabi, and research notes.
Procedures for submission of article abstracts: By September 15, 2011, please submit a 1-2 page abstract summarizing the article you wish to include in this issue as an attachment to
with "Issue 116 abstract submission" in the subject line. By October 15, authors will be notified whether they should submit a full version of their article for peer review. The due date for completed drafts of articles is January 15. Those articles selected for publication after the peer review process will be included in issue 116 of Radical History Review, scheduled to appear in Spring 2013. The issue editors strongly encourage the submission of images or artwork to illustrate textual pieces, as well as photo or other visual essays. Please send any images as low-resolution digital files via email. If chosen for publication, authors will need to send high-resolution images files (jpg or tif files at a minimum of 300 dpi), along with written permission to reprint all images.
Abstract Deadline: September 15, 2011
Department of History
Thompson Hall E314
Fredonia, NY 14063
author of DDT and the American Century