Aqua - Water as Social and Cultural Space

Changing Values and Representations

About us

The interdisciplinary project emphasizes the interconnections between the central categories of water, space, and technology. The focus on the “spatial imagination” entails the thesis that our perception of water is a cultural and social construction which is produced, imagined, and interlinked with political and economic power. The project is based on inter- and multidisciplinary studies including language, literary, and cultural studies, history of technology, engineering sciences and environmental studies.

The emphasis on the social and cultural dimensions of water will link together both diachronic and synchronic material. It will also serve as the methodological frame for the systematic analysis of how perceptions of water affect our approaches to it in our everyday lives. We also ask what are the changes connected to the meanings, values, and the images given to water and its textual and visual representations in time and space, what are the cultural implications of technical innovations (and vice versa), and what is the cultural role of water in different historical eras from the pre-modern to the postmodern age.

valimeri.jpgThe individual subprojects ask various interconnected questions: what has been the function and meaning of water, waterways, and wastewater in the formation of cultures; what are our values, beliefs, fears, and attitudes toward water?; what are the stories we tell about water and what are the meanings we give to water in our languages?; how is water represented in literature, historical documents, and the visual arts and how do those representations influence our ways of dealing with water?