Colonization by drainage: water and land in the early modern Basin of Mexico and English fenlands
20 Mar 2018, 17:30 to 20 Mar 2018, 19:00
Latin American History
IHR Peter Marshall Room, N204, Second Floor, IHR, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU
Vera S. Candiani, Princeton
Starting and evolving almost simultaneously, the early modern projects to drain the lakes that used to surround the City of Mexico and the fenlands of Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire would radically transform the watery landscapes of their regions. But this took a long time, and in the meantime what these projects accomplished instead was a fundamental redefinition of what land and water were and where they were supposed to be. These new understandings rendered these elements as discrete from one another, simplified, quantifiable, measurable, and saleable as commodities and inputs consistent with the penetration of capitalist relations of property, production and exchange deep into the very basic building blocks of ecosystems. Using these examples, the talk will propose to define colonization a process whereby classes, not ethnes or nations, moved onto new environments and transformed them on both sides of the Atlantic and at the same time, questioning the utility of the differentiation between colony and nation.
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