Crisis and Innovation: Rethinking Sanitation Technologies and Development in the Global South

Call for Papers
May 31, 2023
Massachusetts, United States
Subject Fields: 
African History / Studies, History of Science, Medicine, and Technology, Public Health, Social Sciences, Southeast Asian History / Studies

Over the last decade, calls have been made for humanitarian and development agencies, public health experts, and scholars to shift paradigms in sanitation development from uniquely infrastructure provision toward multidimensional understandings. Discourses and practices have seen a movement from centralized, linear, and water-based offsite flush toilet sewer systems towards decentralized onsite systems; from infrastructure provision towards behavioral change; from the amelioration of toilet systems towards resource recovery; from non-gendered considerations of sanitation towards gender involvement and empowerment; and from state-subsidized sanitation towards market-based solutions. In adopting these measures to varying degrees, international organizations have increased low-cost toilets in villages, peri-urban areas, and regions in low-income countries in Southeast Asia and Africa.

A conjunctural crisis comprising Covid-19, climatic change effects, violent conflict in the Ukraine and Ethiopia, and global hyperinflation, have however constrained progress and brought into sharp relief contradictions in communitarian institutions e.g., the role of the state and international organizations vis-à-vis the scale, standardization, and integration of public sanitation services; state/donor subsidized sanitation versus market-based; poverty and just sanitation; community participation in program design, implementation, and evaluation; donor time scales and space for behavioral change, and questions over the effectiveness of contemporary water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) interventions. This text sets out to draw attention to the present conditions of existence and governance approaches, emerging technologies over the last decade and their outcomes, and the kinds of investments that are needed to improve or bring about global systemic change in sanitation post-Covid 19. Suggested topics for book chapters include but aren’t limited to:

1. The political economy of access and provision of physical infrastructure and related                       sanitation services to marginalized populations and communities in the Global South.

2. Emerging sanitation technologies and their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and                      threats.

3. Community participation in setting definitions and design of appropriate infrastructure                   technology programs and projects, and the range of infrastructure, financing, and                           service options available.

4. The changing social and emotive dimensions of sanitation.

5. The place of ethics, gender, and decolonization in sanitation and hygiene research and                    programs.

6. Conceptualizing, framing, or theorizing existing and alternative approaches, technologies, and       ideologies in sanitation and hygiene programs and practices.

7. The emerging concept of sanitation justice in the face of unequal distribution of impacts and          services to at-risk, marginalized, and vulnerable communities.

8. Case studies of communities, technologies, and sanitation histories.

9. Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene design and programming in crisis affected settings.

10. How emergency responses could evolve into sustainable solutions that will serve affected               populations post-Covid 19.

We envision this edited collection to be interdisciplinary and invite contributions from scholars and practitioners in the field. The deadline for the receipt of abstracts (300- 400 words) and a biographical note (250-300 words) is May 31, 2023. Those invited to submit full chapters will be notified by June 31, 2023. Completed chapter drafts including endnotes and bibliography will be due by November 15, 2023.

Contact Info: 
Achirri Ismael
Department of Social Science & Policy Studies,
Worcester Polytechnic Institute,
100 Institute Rd, Worcester, MA 01609
Contact Email: