Call for Chapters: Epistemologies of water in Asia (edited volume)


Peer-reviewed edited volume in Routledge Earthscan series; Editors: Dr. Ravi Baghel and Lea Stepan

Deadlines: Extended Abstracts: March 30, 2015; Chapters: June 30, 2015.


The idea for this edited volume took shape in an international workshop on the epistemologies of water in Asia, that was organized at Heidelberg University in December 2014. Following the fruitful discussion among the participants and considerable interest from within the academic community, we decided to build upon the work presented at the workshop, while opening it up to fresh contributions.

The point of departure of the proposed volume is the premise that there is something distinct to water, to water experiences and water knowledges in Asia. Some of these appear to be linked to particular spaces – when associated with specific local cultures or religions – whereas others are structured by functional and symbolic differentiations, such as expert, political or sacred knowledge. Particularly in Asia, well-tested practices surrounding water, snow and ice are often inseparable from ritual or cosmological symbolism and performance. Therefore, it cannot be assumed that the latter necessarily conflict with “objective” understandings of water, which also brings into question the epistemological status of water as a mere “resource”. We would like to examine how varied forms of knowledge pertaining to water, flow, encounter and entangle each other. This volume is focused on attempts to trace the circulation and transformation of environmental knowledge fragments and practices across the boundaries of diverse knowledge systems.

We hope that contributors would address provocative questions such as:

  • Whose knowledges and epistemologies are used to define problems and solutions?
  • How do our research subjects view the future of water along multiple spatial and temporal scales?
  • How can water inform distinct epistemologies?
  • What are the unique epistemic challenges of research on water?
  • How can we use water as a tool to move beyond classic tropes of categorisation/classifications?
  • How does water knowledge produce new spaces?
  • Does a study of water demand inter- or trans- disciplinarity?
  • What are fruitful directions for further scholarly engagement?

The core contributing authors come from a variety of disciplines such as anthropology, human geography, cultural studies, philosophy, sociology, area studies and development studies. We hope to maintain this diversity and authors from all disciplines are welcome to propose their chapters for this volume, interdisciplinary collaborations are especially welcome. We invite you to submit a chapter to the volume which will go towards bringing researchers from a diversity of disciplines together to inaugurate a new research field.


Please submit a working title, a 500-word abstract of your proposed chapter and a short CV to Dr. Ravi Baghel ( ) and Lea Stepan ( ). All submitted abstracts will be reviewed by the editors. Authors will be notified of the outcome by April 15 and be invited to submit a full chapter by June 30, 2015 for peer-review and publication in the volume.

If you have questions regarding the suitability of your submission please contact Dr. Baghel with your proposed title and a short description.

Please feel free to distribute this call to colleagues and across relevant mailing lists.

Contact information

Cluster of Excellence: Asia and Europe in a Global Context
Karl Jaspers Centre for Advanced Transcultural Studies
Voßstraße 2, Building 4400
69115 Heidelberg Germany

Telephone: +49 (0) 6221 54 8928 Fax +49 (0) 6221-54 4012