The Somatechnics of Water

This CFP is seeking contributions to a special issue of Somatechnics<>.
Water constitutes an integral and assembling life force for bodies, technologies, and power. Historical and social understandings rivers and water sources impact the materialisation and instrumentalisation of water (DasGupta, 2020). In particular, the abstraction of water from its contextual assemblages can work to reinforce power relations. Adele Perry argues that ‘the forgetting of where water comes from … [is] enabled by the social relations of colonialism’ (as cited in Coyne et al., 2020). Amidst calls to think with volume (Steinberg & Peters, 2015) and processually (see Hemming et al., 2019) regarding the flows and matter of water, this special issue attends to the somatechnics of water and its relational embedded-ness with knowledge, environments, and both human and non-human actors. What are the somatechnics that attend to the hydroimperial (Pritchard, 2012) and hydrosocial terroritories (Boelens et al., 2016) of water? How can somatechnics be applied to the necropolitical deployment and manifestations of water (Lloréns & Stanchich, 2019), the biopolitical management of water (Bakker, 2012), and water’s entanglement with racial capitalism? Water’s relationship to weathering (Neimanis & Walker, 2014) and environmentality (Agrawal, 2005) vivify climate concerns and their differential impacts. Importantly, First Nations’ epistemic understandings of water precede newer non-Indigenous concerns with vibrant matter and the more-than-human and constitute important resistance to settler colonial processes of infrastructuring (see Spice, 2018). As Irene Watson points out, the latter has facilitated ‘a lifestyle that has murdered ours as it eats into the future of us all’ (2002, para. 9). Finally, Kim TallBear reminds us, ‘indigenous peoples have never forgotten that nonhumans are agential beings engaged in social relations that profoundly shape human lives’ (2015, p. 234). In what ways has water somatechnically engendered and fostered modes of being in the world?

Subjects for this special issue could include but are not limited to:

-       First Nations relationships to land and water
-       hydrosocial water imaginaries and cultural understandings of water
-       water and infrastructure
-       embodied relations to water
-       water and environmentality, environmental racism
-       biopolitics of water, water healthscapes, water citizenship
-       technologies of water
-       water and settler coloniality
-       water histories
-       water terriorities and geographies

Abstracts will be considered on a rolling basis until July 31st. Full papers of 6,000-7,000w are due November 30th. Please send abstracts and all inquiries to Dr. Holly Randell-Moon at: [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>


Agrawal, A. (2005). Environmentality: Technologies of Government and the Making of Subjects. Durham: Duke University Press.

Bakker, K. (2012). Water: Political, biopolitical, material. Social Studies of Science, 42(4), 616-623.

Boelens, R., Hoogesteger, J., Swyngedouw, E., Vos, J. & Wester, P. (2016). Hydrosocial territories: a political ecology perspective, Water International, 41(1), 1-14.

Coyne, T., de Lourdes Melo Zurita, M., Reid, D. & Prodanovic, V. (2020). Culturally inclusive water urban design: a critical history of hydrosocial infrastructures in Southern Sydney, Australia. Blue-Green Systems, 2(1), 364-382.

DasGupta, A. (2020). Hydrocultural Histories and Narratives: Insights from the Sundarbans. Ecology, Economy and Society–the INSEE Journal, 3(2), 169-178.

Hemming, S., Rigney, D., Berg, S. (2019). Ngarringjeri Nation Building: securing a future as Ngarrindjeri Ruwe/Ruwar (Lands, Waters and all the Living Things). In H. W. Nelson, S. E. Cornell & W. Nikolakis, (eds.), Reclaiming Indigenous Governance: Reflections and Insights from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United States (pp. 71-103). Tucson: The University of Arizona Press.

Lloréns, H. & Stanchich, M. (2019). Water is life, but the colony is a necropolis: Environmental terrains of struggle in Puerto Rico. Cultural Dynamics, 31(1-2).

Neimanis, A. & Walker, R. L. (2014). Weathering: Climate Change and the ‘Thick Time’ of Transcorporeality. Hypatia, 29(3), 558-575.

Pritchard S. B. (2012). From hydroimperialism to hydrocapitalism: ‘French’ hydraulics in France, North Africa, and beyond. Social Studies of Science, 42, 591-615.

Spice, A. (2018). Indigenous resurgence, decolonization, and movements for environmental justice. Environment and Society, 9, 40-56.

Steinberg, P. & Peters, K. (2015). Wet Ontologies, Fluid Spaces: Giving Depth to Volume through Oceanic Thinking. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 33, 247-264.

TallBear, K. (2015). Dossier: Theorizing Queer Inhumanisms: An Indigenous Reflection on Working Beyond the Human/Not Human. GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, 21(2-3), 230-235.

Watson, I. (2002). Aboriginal Laws and the Sovereignty of Terra Nullius. borderlands e-journal, 1(2).