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CLAS Lecture Series: Watering the Revolution: An Environmental and Technological History of Agrarian Reform in Mexico

October 20, 2017 -
12:30pm to 2:00pm
Center for Latin American Studies, Bolivar House, 582 Alvarado Row

Free and Open to the Public | Lunch Provided | No RSVP Necessary

Watering the Revolution: An Environmental and Technological History of Agrarian Reform in Mexico | A Book Talk by Mikael Wolfe **

Watering the Revolution re-examines Mexican agrarian reform—Latin America’s largest and most extensive—through an environmental and technological history of water management in the emblematic Laguna region. It shows how during the long Mexican Revolution (1910-1940) engineers’ distribution of water paradoxically undermined land distribution. In so doing, it reveals the intrinsic tension engineers faced between the need for water conservation and the imperative for development during the contentious modernization of the Laguna's irrigation system via dams, canals, and groundwater pumps. This tension generally resolved in favor of development, which unintentionally diminished and contaminated the water supply while deepening rural social inequalities. By uncovering the varied motivations behind the Mexican government’s decision to use invasive technologies despite knowing they were unsustainable, the book tells a cautionary tale of the long-term consequences of short-sighted development policies.   Mikael Wolfe is Assistant Professor of History at Stanford University. He is an environmental historian of water and climate issues in modern Mexico and Latin America. He earned a BA from Columbia University and a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. In addition to his book, he has published numerous journal articles and book chapters on water and land reform in modern Mexico.

** Stanford Bookstore will have a few copies of the book for sale at this event

Event Sponsor: 
Center for Latin American Studies, History Department
Contact Email: 
latinamerica@stanford.edu
Contact Phone: 
(650) 725-0383