By Thom van Dooren and Deborah Bird Rose
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This issue of the Ecological Humanities includes three original articles and an excerpt from an exciting recent book in the ecological humanities. The first article is Terry Gifford‘s ‘Judith Wright’s Poetry and the Turn to the Post-Pastoral’. Here, Gifford introduces readers to some of the important ecological dimensions and insights of this celebrated Australian poet. The second paper, Emily O’Gorman‘s ‘Unnatural River, Unnatural Floods?’, examines contestations between people living along the Murray River at a time of rapid riverine transformation. Focusing on the Hume Dam and the Snowy Mountains Scheme, the paper explores some of the very different ways in which these constructions were understood and implicated in two important flood episodes in the 1950s. Finally, Kerry Little‘s paper ‘Democracy Reigns Supreme in Sikkim?’ takes us to the north east of India, and into some very contemporary struggles over the building of a series of large hydroelectric dams that will flood the homeland of the Lepcha people.
The final part of this issue of the Ecological Humanities is a short excerpt from Jessica Weir‘s recent book Murray River Country: An Ecological Dialogue with Traditional Owners (published by Aboriginal Studies Press). While the economic, and increasingly also the ecological, significance of Australia’s inland river systems are frequently acknowledged, this section of Weir’s book explores the vital need for ‘cultural flows’, as both a critique of contemporary water management and an important source of nourishment for these deeply historical, biosocial, landscapes.