Fluid Phenomena: Re-engaging Rivers in the Anthropocene

Iftekhar Iqbal's picture
Call for Papers
October 10, 2022
Subject Fields: 
Anthropology, Asian History / Studies, Cultural History / Studies, Economic History / Studies, Public Policy

Conference on

Fluid Phenomena:  Re-engaging Rivers in the Anthropocene


27 February 2023

Virtual and Physical (in Brunei)



Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Universiti Brunei Darussalam, Brunei

The conference aims to explore the life-world of the rivers that have shaped the ecological, economic, cultural, and political processes affecting human and more-than-human lives. Conference-led publications would develop interdisciplinary conceptual and methodological tools for river studies with a focus on four broad thematic areas: 

  • Spiritual engagements, literature, folklores, paintings, and other creative representations of the river.
  • River as a site of immobility,  mobility as well as cosmopolitan entanglements.
  • Ecological and economic changes that have mutually shaped river systems, especially since the 1950s.
  • Impacts of policies and practices on river systems and corresponding popular responses.

These themes aspire to build on eco-phenomenology. Heidegger’s fourfold relations of “dwelling” between sky and earth and among mortals and the divine—as mediated by the ontopoetics of existence— inform the concept of “Unity of Being”. In recent times this idea has flowered into Bruno Latour’s “Parliament of things”, which seeks to restore formal political agency of non-human entities squarely into the world of human politics. Despite this development in the study of perceptually rich lived experiences, nature continues to be encountered by rationalism-driven “unlived” Anthropogenic forces. Based on case studies of several large and smaller rivers, the conference will explore the ways how the river has been a key site of encounter between the dual forces of intimate engagement and “de-touched” development practices and how to reconcile them in a sustainable life-world that bridges progress and posterity.

While we are particularly interested in rivers of tropical Asia, proposals on other regions, including Australia and South America, are most welcome.

Abstract submission deadline: 10 October 2022

Full paper submission deadline: 10 February 2023

Abstracts should be submitted to: Ms Fatin Razak, asianrivers2100@gmail.com

The conference is held under the auspices of “The Environment and Transformations” research cluster at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Universiti Brunei Darussalam. https://fass.ubd.edu.bn/research/rt-et.html

Further queries on the conference should be directed to: Dr Iftekhar Iqbal, iftekhar.iqbal@ubd.edu.bn

Contact Info: 

Iftekhar Iqbal

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Universiti Brunei Darussalam, Brunei