A14
In other words: caring for water

Convenors:
Marianne de Laet (Harvey Mudd College)
Annemarie Mol (University of Amsterdam)
Format:
Location:
Faraday Lecture Theatre (Faraday Complex)
Start time:
27 July, 2018 at 14:00
Session slots:
2

Short abstract:

Based on water-related fieldwork in different regions and different languages, this panel addresses issues to do with the non-translatability of terms used in the care of and care for water -- starting with different language variants of the word 'care,' itself.

Long abstract:

To 'meet' usually involves words; in the act of the coming together of people - be it in fieldwork, in debate, or in managerial /regulatory circumstances - language is at work. But words are notoriously unreliable, and especially when we 'meet' across languages, traduction est trahison. Translation is never complete; words are too much, or they are too little; local circumstances and practices are specific to the terms and frames in which they are "done." So, what to make of this - of the absence of perfect translatability? In the face of the non-translatable, what to do? Based on water-related fieldwork in different regions and different languages, this panel addresses issues to do with the non-translatability of terms used in the care of and care for water. A starting point is the Dutch word 'zorg' which the dictionary translates as 'care', but which supports different practices than its English non-equivalent. Things are different again in Spanish, Bangla, or Sami. So here, we explore what the care of water in these various linguistic regimes entails in situated practices. Our panel, then, stages a meeting of sorts, over the (im)possibility of meeting when words are too much, too different, or simply not enough.