Enclosing Water is an environmental history of the Industrial Revolution, as inscribed on the Liri valley in Italy's Central Apennines. Amid forces of revolution and empire, and Enlightenment discourses of 'improvement' and political ecomy, the Liri's natural wealth - water-power - generated sweeping changes in its landscape and working and living environments. This book tells the story of how defining water as property - both materially and discursively - led to the emergence of an industrial riverscape, and of a concomitant new ecological consciousness; to heightened environmental risks and awareness of those risks. A dramatic century in the Liri's socio-environmental history, with its cast of new industrial bourgeoisie, engineers and civil servants, illuminates how material developments and ideological currents completely reshaped the relationship between society and nature at the periphery of 19th century Europe. By integrating Political Ecomy into the narrative of European environmental history, this pioneering book offers a critical new view of discourses of water disorder and environmental politics in the Mediterranean region.
Stefania Barca (born in Naples in 1968) is a researcher at the Centre for Social Studies at the University of Coimbra, Portugal. After obtaining her PhD in Economic History from the University of Bari (1997) she was a research associate with the Institute of Studies on Mediterranean Societies in Naples (part of the Italian National Research Council) and taught courses in economic, social and environmental history. She has published numerous articles in Italian and English and co-authored the book Storia dell'ambiente. Una introduzione ('An Introduction to Environmental History', 2004, with M. Armiero). In 2003 she was involved in founding the first Italian environmental history journal, I Frutti di Demetra. Bollettino di Storia e Ambiente, on whose editorial board she still serves. From 2005 to 2008 she was in the US, first as visiting scholar to the Program in Agrarian Studies at Yale University and then as Ciriacy Wantrup postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Berkeley. She returned to Europe in 2009. Her current research projects include a comparative environmental history of petrochemicals, and a biography of Italian leading ecologist Laura Conti.
Winner of Turku Book Award for Environmental History 2011.