Call for Papers — Asian Survey

On Water: Power, Pollution, and Preservation

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Friday March 22, is World Water Day. We invite you or any of your colleagues to submit manuscripts dealing with water in contemporary Asian politics for possible publication in a special issue of Asian Survey.


Concerns about water continue in prominence. They range from the aesthetic (nature) across the environmental (sustainability) to those of crisis (survival). Such concerns are markedly political, dealing with moments of conflict or cooperation when grappling with issues regarding the sustenance of life, flows crossing boundaries, changes in our lived material or cultural world, and the connection or separation of people. For an upcoming special issue, Asian Survey invites manuscripts that discuss the ways in which these contemporary concerns have been raised, addressed, or dismissed across Asia.

We are interested in studies of water in Asian politics that engage aspects of power, pollution, and preservation nationally and trans-nationally. Related questions include but are not limited to: How does control over water generate power or disempowerment? How does the pollution of water create or corrode relationships among and within states, societies, and ecosystems? Where are the limits drawn between water’s ability to preserve and its possibility of being preserved, or its power to destroy and its vulnerability to destructive powers?

Manuscripts should be empirically grounded, theoretically engaged, and focused on contemporary problems. They should avoid technical aspects of water management, policy prescriptions, or overly specific subjects of study. Manuscripts should instead focus on expanding general political approaches from international, comparative, and theoretical perspectives, freely moving across explanatory, interpretive, and critical registers. We welcome manuscripts addressing water as a broad political, social, or cultural medium: rivers and streams, oceans and seas, reservoirs and wells, glaciers and floods, bottled and tap. We are open to approaches that run the full spectrum of the social sciences. And we are particularly interested in projects that mobilize the richness of this spectrum to link local, regional, and inter-regional viewpoints while capturing the importance of political concerns over water in Asia.

From public supply and state projects to private purchase and civil society, from sanitation and sewage to storms and tsunamis, from hydroelectric dams and irrigation networks to shipping routes and offshore drilling, from the Mekong and the Yellow River to the Indus and the Ganges, from the Northern Sea Route to the South China Sea, how are continuing prominent concerns about water articulated across Asia — and what can these articulations teach us about political life?

Submissions: Send unpublished manuscripts of 7,000–9,000 words (maximum, including footnotes) to asiansurvey@berkeley.edu by 1 June 2013. The special issue "On Water" will consist of no more than eight articles.

Questions? Contact:
Matthew H. Baxter
Associate Editor for South Asia, Asian Survey
Institute of East Asian Studies
2223 Fulton Street, Room 518
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, CA 94720
(510) 642-4117 [phone]
(510) 643-7062 [FAX]
asiansurvey@berkeley.edu

Download the Call for Papers here.