The limits and opportunities of interdisciplinary collaboration in broader political ecologies are examined through the situated, multi-species, multi-scalar, interdisciplinary power and politics of water governance and management.
In 2016, the World Economic Forum calculated the impact of water crisis to be nearly equal to the global risk impacts posed by weapons of mass destruction. Since 2012, water crisis has been a top five global risk—casualties from every continent are mounting as a result from floods, droughts, sea-level rise, extraction, pollution and deregulation. The World Resources Institute estimates this trend to continue with 33 nations reaching extremely high water stress by 2040. As such, water governance and management have become increasingly contentious. Water issues surpass political boundaries and acquire strategic significance spurring multiple forms of violent human conflict and ecological catastrophe. Even within national, regional and community boundaries, social conflicts over water are enmeshed with asymmetrical relations among situated agents, uneven geographies and imbricated materialities.
Water crisis impacts are broad and multifold, affecting far more than social and material realities in "closed-system" watersheds. We invite papers to examine the multi-scalar, interdisciplinary power and politics of water governance and water management covering the extensive impacts of water crisis both direct and diffuse. Anthropological and social science data yield myriad forms of deep case studies of water crisis—from the trans-corporeal, intersectional, interspecies perspectives to the systemic networking of structural, materialist and Anthropocene research. In documenting and theorizing socio-environmental politics of water crisis, anthropologists and social scientists are able to mitigate the impacts when in conversation with water scientists, engineers and policy-makers. As such, we also invite papers that explore the limits and opportunities of interdisciplinary collaboration in broader hydrological political ecologies.