[URBANTH-L]resend - call for papers

Mark A. Schuller marky at umail.ucsb.edu
Wed May 9 09:52:25 EDT 2007

Sorry for re-sending but some people couldn't read the attachment.   
Here it is again:

Title:  Water Ethics: Human Rights, Water Equity, and Global Disparities.


Water, the ‘blue gold’ of the globe, is being moved, manipulated,  
dammed, polluted, commodified, and transformed from a human right to a  
capitalized commodity. The Committee for Human Rights and Social  
Justice (HR&SJ) of the Society for Applied Anthropology (SfAA)  is  
sponsoring  a panel focusing on the ethics of water – its  
distribution, redistribution, and non-distribution; the social justice  
consequences of damming rivers and relocating communities; the  
changing epidemiology of water-washed and water-borne diseases and the  
human consequences of those changes; and the political, economic,  
social, and ecological consequences of  unequal water management.

While more than 70% of the earth's surface area is covered by water,  
less than 1% of the world's water is available for human consumption.  
This scarcity is unevenly distributed; marginalized populations are  
more vulnerable to illness as result. The World Health Organization  
reports that 25,000 children die daily from illnesses associated with  
drinking water. Approximately 4 billion cases of diarrhea occur each  
year, killing more than 2.2 million people, and some 1.7 billion  
people, more than a third of the world's population, live without  
access to a safe water supply.

Water procurement, treatment, storage, and delivery too often  
reinforce the disparities extant in society.  This results in the  
continuation of unequal access, increased morbidity and mortality for  
the most marginalized members of society through water-related  
diseases, such cholera, amoebic dysentery, schistosomiasis, and  
onchocerciasis. Water insecurity may result from a history of water  
shortages and may cause people to adopt behaviors counter to hygiene  
practices recommended by the WHO, resulting in diseases like scabies,  
trachoma, pinworm, tinea, conjunctivitis, skin sepsis, and ulcers.   
The disposal of water from households also is implicated in the spread  
of disease where sanitary systems are incomplete or absent.  Gray  
waters and black waters - waters containing household waste, some  
including feces - may flow unchecked into streams and rivers.  These  
water run-offs provide breeding grounds for other disease vectors, the  
contamination of downstream water sources, and the spread of parasitic  
and vector-borne diseases.

Global disparities in access to reliable and clean water exacerbate  
existing inequalities and are increasing due to global trade  
agreements that remove water from local communities. Extensive pumping  
of groundwater, the increasing corporate purchase of water, urban and  
agricultural divertissement of water, and water-related development  
and displacement.  Policies from multinational organizations such as  
the World Trade Organization and the World Bank have transformed water  
into a commodity that is quickly becoming out of reach for the  
majority of the world’s poor.  The needs of a growing population and  
major agribusiness drain aquifers and divert water at an alarming  
rate, such as in the American Southwest.  Globally, dam projects alone  
account for at least 40 percent of development-induced displacement  
every year – over 4 million people.

All of these issues bring the intersection of water, inequality,  
health, culture, human rights, and social justice into stark  

Panelists are invited to discuss human rights and social justice  
implications of water, including (but not limited to): reflections of  
global practices and policies shaping access to reliable and clean  
supplies of water; to the forced relocation of communities due to the  
creation of dams on rivers traditionally used for livelihoods and  
sustainable aquaculture; models and methods of water distribution at  
the local, regional, national, and supra-national scales; water and  
disease; water and migration; and water and community sustainability,  
among others. We invite participants to consider ‘the moral economy of  
water’ and how to translate it into equity and practice. We seek to  
create an international panel of scholars and practitioners from the  
applied sciences: anthropology, geography, sociology, political  
science, public health, and others.  We especially invite applications  
from colleagues outside of the U.S. to participate.

This panel is for the 2008 International Congress of Anthropological  
and Ethnological Sciences, which will be held July 15-23 in Kunming,  
China.  We need 15 panelists to confirm their ability to participate  
before we can submit the formal application.  And we must have  
participants from at least 3 different countries.  For further  
information about the conference, please see this website:


For more information, or if you have any questions, please contact  
Jason Simms (jsimms2 at mail.usf.edu).  If you would like to participate  
on the panel, please submit your name, institution, and a short,  
informal abstract (one paragraph) to Jason at the above email address.  
  The deadline for submission is May 31, 2007.

-Mark Schuller

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