- Publisher: Cambridge University Press
- Online publication date: May 2018
- Print publication year: 2018
- Online ISBN: 9781108348867
- DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108348867
What happens when a distant colonial power tries to tame an unfamiliar terrain in the world's largest tidal delta? This history of dramatic ecological changes in the Bengal Delta from 1760 to 1920 involves land, water and humans, tracing the stories and struggles that link them together. Pushing beyond narratives of environmental decline, Bhattacharyya argues that 'property-thinking', a governing tool critical in making land and water discrete categories of bureaucratic and legal management, was at the heart of colonial urbanization and the technologies behind the draining of Calcutta. The story of ecological change is narrated alongside emergent practices of land speculation and transformation in colonial law. Bhattacharyya demonstrates how this history continues to shape our built environments with devastating consequences, as shown in the Bay of Bengal's receding coastline.
Bhavani Raman - University of Toronto
Andrew Sartori - New York University
Jeremy J. Schmidt Source: Environmental Values
Rohan D'Souza Source: H-Water
Maya Jasanoff Source: The New York Review of Books
Benjamin Siegel Source: Environmental History
David Arnold Source: The English Historical Review
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