Sacred Waters: Historical Ecology, Power, and the Soul of the Blue Nile

SÉMINAIRE / SEMINAR

CFEE Seminar Past and Present: History, Memory and Heritage
(2015-2016)

6ème séance / 6th session: Sacred Waters: Historical Ecology, Power, and the Soul of the Blue Nile, par / by James C. McCANN (Boston University)

The lecture will be in English.

Mardi 7 juin 2016, 16h-17h30, Bibliothèque d’études éthiopiennes Berhanou Abebe (CFEE) / Tuesday 7 June 2016, 4-5:30 PM, Berhanou Abebe Library of Ethiopian Studies (CFEE).

Sacred Waters: Historical Ecology, Power, and the Soul of the Blue Nile, par / by James C. McCANN

This lecture is a chance to talk about water and power –and to do that  in two senses:  First, is to talk about the use of water to generate electric power for a country and a transnational region.  In this case the Blue Nile river is the moving body of water that empties the Ethiopian highlands as it flows west and then north to Sudan and Egypt and feeds the overall Nile watershed.  Second, is to talk about water and power in the sense of people’s beliefs about water, its meaning, its spirit, and control of it.   I want to argue here that people (s) believe about the power of water may be as important as its reality.  We seek to understand, in a full sense, one of the world’s truly great hydraulic systems in its human and its geopolitical value.  There are many ways to seek to absorb water’s power and meaning.  I am part of a team here that seeks to explore a new form of ecological science that we are calling CHANS (Coupled Human and Natural Systems).  This approach is about biological and geographic interactions, over time and different places  –showing a full variety of the human and natural conundra in this mix for policy choices.

L’ intervenant / The speaker

James C. McCann est professeur d’histoire à l’Université de Boston, spécialiste de l’histoire environnementale éthiopienne et africaine. Il est l’auteur de plusieurs ouvrages majeurs dans ce domaine (From Poverty to Famine in Northeast Ethiopia: A Rural History, 1987 ; People of the Plow: An Agricultural History of Ethiopia, 1995 ; Green Land, Brown Land, Black Land: An Environmental History of Africa, 1999 ; Maize and Grace: Africa’s Encounter with a New World Crop, 2005) et plus récemment de The Historical Ecology of Malaria in Ethiopia, 2015. À l’Université de Boston, il est aujourd’hui directeur associé pour le développement du African Studies Centre et membre du Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer Range Future.

James C. McCann is a Professor of History at Boston University, specialized in Ethiopian and African environmental history. He is author of several major books in this field of research (From Poverty to Famine in Northeast Ethiopia: A Rural History, 1987 ; People of the Plow: An Agricultural History of Ethiopia, 1995 ; Green Land, Brown Land, Black Land: An Environmental History of Africa, 1999 ; Maize and Grace: Africa’s Encounter with a New World Crop, 2005) and more recently The Historical Ecology of Malaria in Ethiopia, 2015. At Boston Universiy, he is now Associate Director for Development, African Studies Center, and Faculty Fellow at the Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer Range Future.

Organisateurs du séminaire 2015-2016 / Convenors of the seminar series 2015-2016: Belete Bizuneh (AAU, History Dept.), Deresse Ayenachew (Debre Berhan University, History and Heritage Management Dept.), Thomas Guindeuil (CFEE), Margaux Herman (CFEE/IMAF), Kindeneh Endeg (AAU, IES), Shiferaw Bekele (AAU, History Dept.).

Photo: Blue Nile near Bahar Dar, Giustino, Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Blue_Nile_near_Bahar_Dar.jpg).


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