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Social Science and Public Policy

CANCELED: Water and Land: Words that Contain Worlds

March 25, 2020 at 12:00pm2:00pm EDT

Eggers Hall, 341

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This event has been canceled.


Moynihan Institute of Global Affairs

South Asia Center presents

Luisa Cortesi, Taylor Stanford Postdoctoral Fellow in STS and Anthropology, Cornell University

Water and Land: Words that Contain Worlds

How do people who live in the midst of floods think about water? Informed by multidisciplinary long-term ethnographic fieldwork, this presentation presents ethnographic evidence that, in North Bihar, land and water are though of as in intimate correspondence with each other. By virtue of comparison, then, the ethnographic encounter is held to defy other ontologies of water that see the two substances as in opposition. Since ontologies of natural substances are often “watertight”, mutually exclusive and unable to adapt, this presentation suggests, their encounter may result in semiotic conflict. This talk is part of the Sustainable South Asia Initiative. It is co-sponsored by the Central New York Humanities Corridor from an award by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Please contact Emera Bridger Wilson at for any questions or concerns.

This event was first published on January 15, 2020 and last updated on March 12, 2020.

Event Details