Bergen Summer Research School

Water Management, Development Trajectories and the Modern World

Tyssedal power plant
Dag Endre Opedal

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Course leaders: Professor Terje Tvedt, Department of Geography, UiB, and Dr Tore Sætersdal, Assistant Director, UiB Global

This course addresses one of the major global challenges in a world of climate change and the widening gap between demand and supply of safe water. How are societies affected by changing water cycles and by efforts at controlling and modifying the waterscape? And how have they been affected in the past by managing these differences in water--society relationships?

The main aims of this course are twofold: To offer a truly multidisciplinary approach to understanding water--society relations. And to provide reflections on the need for a long term historical perspective on changes and differences in conditions and possibilities for different types of water management. The course will give PhD candidates insight into and knowledge of relevant theoretical and historical literature on water management and water control.

The course lecturers, mainly historians and archeologists, aim to offer an original and refreshing perspective on water--society relations. Everybody is talking about the need for multidisciplinarity in the study of water. This course addresses this task.

The course will also organize an excursion into the waterscape of Bergen and its surroundings to show how people on the Scandinavian rain coast manage their waters.

Terje Tvedt is the Series Editor of the 9-volume series A History of Water (2016), the author of numerous books and articles, including Water and Society. Changing Perceptions of Societal and Historical Development (2016), and the author and presenter of three award winning documentaries, including "A Journey in the History of  Water" and "The Future of Water" (on Netflix from 2016).

Tore Saetersdal is the Director of the Nile Basin Research Programme, leader of the WASO-program and leader of Bergen Summer Research School.

Please refer to the BSRS programme for common BSRS sessions

Course programme

Monday 12 June
13:30 – 16:30 (including breaks) Meeting course leaders and students and introduction to the course
Professor Terje Tvedt (UiB)

Tuesday 13 June
09:00 – 12:30 (including breaks) The Enigma of Water: Approaches to studies of water and society
Professor Terje Tvedt (UiB)

Wednesday 14 June

09:00 – 12:30 Excursion

13:30 – 15:00 Water and Religion
Associate Professor Terje Oestigaard (NAI) and Assistant Professor Tore Saetersdal (UiB)

15:30 – 17:45 Indigenous perspectives on water
Associate Professor Terje Oestigaard (NAI) and Assistant Professor Tore Saetersdal (UiB)

Thursday 15 June
09:00 – 10.30 Internationalization of Rivers and Water Conflicts
Assistant Professor Tore Saetersdal (UiB)

11:00 - 12.30 The Israeli-Palestinian issue in a water perspective
Dr. Kjersti G. Berg Scientific coordinator, Bergen Summer Research School

13.30 – 15.00 Student presentations

Friday 16 June
09:00 – 12:30 Water and Food
Associate Professor Terje Oestigaard (NAI)

13:30 – 15:00 Student presentations

Saturday 17 June
Excursion to the Hardanger Fjord area – a closer look at the role of water in the development of Norway and the Western Norwegian waterscape.

Monday 19 June
09:00 – 12:30 (including break) Reflecting on the course and debate on the role of water in development
Professor Terje Tvedt (UiB) and Assistant Professor Tore Saetersdal (UiB)

Course literature

Tvedt, T. (2016) Water and Society: Changing Perceptions of Societal and Historical Development. I.B. Tauris, London/New York.

Fischhendler, I. (2015) The securitization of water discourse: theoretical foundations, research gaps and objectives of the special issue. International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics; Vol. 15: 245-255. New York, Springer 10 pgs

Oestigaard, T. (2011) "Water". In Insoll, T. (ed.). The Oxford Handbook of the Archaeology of Ritual and Religion: 38-50. Oxford University Press. Oxford. 12 pgs

Strand, Veronica, (2004) The Meaning of Water, Berg, Oxford.

David E. Newton (2016) The Global Water Crisis: A Reference Handbook: A Reference Handbook.