Not long ago it seemed flood control experts were close to mastering the unruly flows funnelling toward Hudson Bay and the Prairie city of Winnipeg. But as more intense and out-of-synch flood events occur, wary cities like Winnipeg continue to depend on
systems and specifications that will soon be out of date. Rivers have impulses that defy many of the basic human assumptions underpinning otherwise
sophisticated technologies. This is the river-city expression of climate change.
In Just One Rain Away Stephanie Kane shows how geoscience, engineering, and law converge to affect flood control in Winnipeg. She questions technicalities
produced and maintained in tandem with settler folkways at the expense of the plural legal cultures of Indigenous nations. The dynamics of this experimental ethnography feel familiar yet strange: here, many of the starring actors are not human. Ice and water – materializing as bodies, elements, and digital signals act with diatoms, diversions, sensors, sandbags, and satellites, looping theories about glacial erratics and feminist science studies into scenes from neighbourhood parks, conferences, survey maps, plays, archival photos, a novel, an emergency press conference, LiDAR images, and a lab experiment in a
bathtub. Through storytelling and environmental analytics, Just One Rain Away provides a starting point for cross-cultural discussions about how expert knowledge an practice should inform egalitarian decision-making about flood control and, more broadly, decolonize current ways of thinking, being, and becoming with rivers.
Stephanie C. Kane is professor of international
studies at Indiana University.
6×9 • 344pp • 23 photos • December 2022
ISBN 9780228014287 • Paper • £29.99
ISBN 9780228011361 • Cloth • £99.00
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