Joanne Yao, The Ideal River: How Control of Nature Shaped the International Order – Manchester University Press, March 2022 and New Books Network discussion

Joanne Yao, The Ideal River: How Control of Nature Shaped the International Order – Manchester University Press, March 2022

Just an expensive hardback at the moment, unfortunately.

Environmental politics has traditionally been a peripheral concern for international relations theory, but increasing alarm over global environmental challenges has elevated international society’s relationship with the natural world into the theoretical limelight. IR theory’s engagement with environmental politics, however, has largely focused on interstate cooperation in the late twentieth century, with less attention paid to how the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century quest to tame nature came to shape the modern international order.

The ideal river examines nineteenth-century efforts to establish international commissions on three transboundary rivers – the Rhine, the Danube, and the Congo. It charts how the Enlightenment ambition to tame the natural world, and human nature itself, became an international standard for rational and civilized authority and informed our geographical imagination of the international. This relationship of domination over nature shaped three core IR concepts central to the emergence of early international order: the territorial sovereign state; imperial hierarchies; and international organizations. The book contributes to environmental politics and international relations by highlighting how the relationship between society and nature is not a peripheral concern, but one at the heart of international politics.

There is a discussion at the New Books Network with Stentor Danielson. Thanks to dmf for the links.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s