Center for South Asian Studies (CSAS)
Time: 4:00 PM - 5:30 PM
Location: Room 1636
School of Social Work BLDG
1080 S. University Ave
South Asia as a Hydrological Surface
Is South Asia a land drained by rivers in a system that begins in point sources on high ground and flows to the sea or is it a terrain soaked and overflowed by rains that fall in complex ways across a thickened surface of soils, aquifers, life and atmosphere? The former dominates word and image, fact and imagination. It is the taken for granted geographic surface that provides the ground of ecology, history, design and policy. This surface is, however, profoundly simplistic. It presents a terrain where water, despite falling everywhere, is given a place apart from land, a place that presumably confines its flux. Water, though, has always resisted this confinement and today with floods, pollution and water shortages on the increase we are faced with the need to make a choice. We can continue to devise solutions to problems on a geographic surface, or we can change the ground of South Asia to a terrain of rain rather than rivers, a hydrological surface where water is everywhere before it is wishfully, momentarily, disciplinarily and fictitiously made to be somewhere. This surface can be the basis of a very different language of ecology, history, design and policy.