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Concrete Revolution: Cold War Geopolitics and the Proliferation of Dams


Date: 11/11/2010

Time: 4:00 PM - 5:30 PM

Location: 125 Nolte Center for Continuing Education

Cost: Free and open to the public


Concrete Revolution: Cold War Geopolitics and the Proliferation of Large Dams, 1933-1975 - A talk by Christopher Sneddon

The 20th century witnessed a tremendous expansion in the size and number of large dams constructed across the face of the planet, yet historical research on the connections between technology, geopolitics and developmental discourses during this period remains incomplete. This talk examines the critical role of the United States Bureau of Reclamation in the global dissemination of the technologies and ideologies of large dams during the Cold War. Large dams, this research argues, became a crucial geopolitical tool for the American state in its efforts to both contain the perceived Soviet threat and extend United States imperial ambitions. Debates over large dams and their transformative socio-ecological impacts must come to terms with the deeply (geo)politicized character of these "technological marvels" and the historical conditions that spawned their creation and proliferation.

Christopher Sneddon (Ph.D., University of Minnesota) is a professor of Environmental Studies and Geography at Dartmouth College. His research focuses on the political ecology of river basin development, primarily in Southeast Asia. His recent work focuses on

transnational river basins (such as the Mekong and Zambezi), conflicts over water in a variety of settings, and the linkages among power, scale and institutions in the context of river basin management. This talk is presented in conjunction with the interdisciplinary conference, Experiments on Rivers: The Consequences of Dams, running from Thursday through Saturday, November 11-13 and is cosponsored by the River Life Program of the Institute on the Environment and the St. Anthony Falls Laboratory.


  • Name: Institute for Advanced Study
  • E-mail: ias@umn.edu
  • Phone: 612-626-5054
  • Sponsored by: Institute for Advanced Study, Global Programs and Strategy Alliance, Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Global Change (ICGC)


Reservation Information:  

More information: http://www.ias.umn.edu/

Disability Options:

To request disability accommodations, please contact the IAS.

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