19 September, 2012

Water and State in Europe and Asia

Water and State in Europe and Asia

By- Peter Borschberg and Martin Krieger (eds)

Water is indispensable for all life on earth. Since ancient times, the control of fresh-water resources and also the sea facilitated the rise of communal structures and administrative institutions across Europe and Asia. Many states tightened their authority by creaming off agriculutral surpluses from irrigated lands. The more effective the irrigational systems, the higher state revenues tended to be. For much of the twentieth century, research on such community-based irrigation was dominated by Karl August Wittfogel’s discourse on ‘Hydraulic Despotism’.

Seaborne empires could flourish as a result of their commercial success and naval strength. For such maritime polities indispensable facets of statehood included military power at sea, successful control of marketplaces and domination of maritime trading routes. The control of waterways and channels was of great strategic importance, such as notably the Danish Sound or the Malacca Straits.

Water and State in Europe and Asia brings together established as well as younger experts from Asia and Europe to explore the interdependence of water and state formation on both continents. Hermann Kulke, Peter Borschberg, Ranabir Chakravarti, S. Jeyaseela Stephen, Martin Krieger and Maitrii Aung-Thwin contribute case-studies on Asia to the volume such as on the Bay of Bengal, North and South India and South-East Asia. Investigating the European perspective. Horst Wernicks, Jens E. Olesen, Karel Davids, Allan I. Macinnes, Salvatore Ciriacono and Andreas Klinger exhaustively study the Hanseatic League the North and Baltic Sea regions the Mediterranean as well as waterways within continental Europe. The individual papers contribute to shaping a virtual global image of water being a major stimulus of the emergence of state-power.

Peter Borschberg is Associate Professor in the Department of History at the National Univesity of Singapore. He has published on trade, diplomacy and colonial politics in early modern South-East Asia.

Martin Krieger is Lecturer of early modern history at the Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-University Greifswald (Germany). His major areas of interest are economic cultural and environmental history. He has published on North German and North European as well as on Indian
colonial history.

ISBN  81-7304-776-6    2008   290p.   Rs.875/ pounds 45

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