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CANCELED: Water and Land: Words that Contain Worlds

341 Eggers Hall

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Moynihan Institute of Global Affairs 

South Asia Center 


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. 

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Moynihan Institute of Global Affairs
346 Eggers Hall