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Beyond the Big Ditch Politics, Ecology, and Infrastructure at the Panama Canal

ISBN-10: 0262028115

ISBN-13: 9780262028110

Edition: 2014

Authors: Ashley Carse

List price: $37.00
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In this innovative book, Ashley Carse traces the water that flows into and out fromthe Panama Canal to explain how global shipping is entangled with Panama's cultural and physicallandscapes. By following container ships as they travel downstream along maritime routes and tracingrivers upstream across the populated watershed that feeds the canal, he explores the politics ofenvironmental management around a waterway that links faraway ports and markets to nearby farms,forests, cities, and rural communities. Carse draws on a wide range ofethnographic and archival material to show the social and ecological implications of transportationacross Panama. The Canal moves ships over an aquatic staircase of locks that demand an enormousamount of fresh water from the surrounding region. Each passing ship drains 52 million gallons outto sea -- a volume comparable to the daily water use of half a million Panamanians.Infrastructures like the Panama Canal, Carse argues, do not simply conquernature; they rework ecologies in ways that serve specific political and economic priorities.Interweaving histories that range from the depopulation of the U.S. Canal Zone a century ago to roadconstruction conflicts and water hyacinth invasions in canal waters, the book illuminates the humanand nonhuman actors that have come together at the margins of the famous trade route. 2014 marks the100th anniversary of the Panama Canal. Beyond the Big Ditch calls us to considerhow infrastructures are materially embedded in place, producing environments with winners andlosers.
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Book details

List price: $37.00
Copyright year: 2014
Publisher: MIT Press
Publication date: 10/24/2014
Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 288
Size: 6.25" wide x 9.25" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 1.430

Ashley Carse, an anthropologist, is currently a National Science Foundation PostdoctoralFellow in Science, Technology, and Society at the University of Virginia.