Northwestern Events Calendar


Anthropology Colloquium: Andrea Ballestero, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Rice University

When: Monday, March 9, 2020
3:00 PM - 5:00 PM Central

Where: 1810 Hinman Avenue, 104, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Nancy Hickey   847.467.1507

Group: Anthropology Colloquia and Events

Co-Sponsor: Anthropology Department
Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities

Category: Lectures & Meetings


“A Future History of Water, or, How to Wonder with techno-legal devices? ” 

How do people commit to intervening in the future while acknowledging its unruliness? I propose the figure of the techno-legal device as a lively space where we can learn how people constantly negotiate the form of the worlds they want to bring about. In this talk, I will focus on one device: a list of water types produced by Costa Rican congressional representatives during the discussion of a constitutional reform to recognize water as a public good and a human right. During the fifteen years it lasted, Libertarian representatives made a series of seemingly outrageous claims: they theatrically declared that if the reform passed, ice cubes would become state property; they claimed that since all human bodies are 70% water, the reform would automatically turn 70% of their bodies into state property. Session after session, they produced a typology of state-owned waters that challenged any definition of what water is, of where its borders sit, and of what liberal ideas such as public goods entail. In this paper I explore their list as a techno-legal device to ask how people establish relations with facts, matter, and politics. I will argue that when taken as a techno-legal device, the list helps us see the making of a future history of water, a series of preconditions that can only be recognized as meaningful in the yet to come.

Co-sponsored by Science in Human Culture
Co-sponsored by Latin American and Caribbean Studies Program
Co-sponsored by the Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities

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