Northwest Mexico “Water Wars”

Crisis:an unstable or crucial time or state of affairs in which a decisive change is impending; especially :  one with the distinct possibility of a highly undesirable outcome <a financial crisis> b :  a situation that has reached a critical phase <the environmental crisis>” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

This series of articles, published by The Americas Program, and researched and written by Tom Barry, focuses on the politics of water control and infrastructure in the Mexican state of Sonora, which shares its border with Arizona.  Barry highlights the struggles of indigenous communities in particular, as they fight against several new, large-scale water-control projects.  The idea of actual or impending “water crisis” permeates the report, as it does so much of what is written on the issue of climate change and environmental transformation.  We ask, what does a crisis ‘look’ like — how is it framed, spoken about in everyday terms, represented visually, through photography and other objects?  What is the relationship between ‘crisis-speak,’ environmental politics, and infrastructure projects? What does it mean when infrastructure projects, justified as means to stave off a crisis-ridden future, create crises for people and places in the present? For whom is the current situation in Sonora a crisis, and who is best equipped to handle it?

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Professor of Art History, School of Art, University of Arizona. Master's swimmer.

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