At publication date, a free ebook version of this title will be available through Luminos, University of California Press’s Open Access publishing program. Visit www.luminosoa.org
to learn more.Virtuous Waters
is the first study of mineral waters and bathing in Mexico. It traces the evolving ideas about these waters, from European contact to the present, in order to shed new light on human-environment relations in the modern world. Our relation to water is among the most urgent of global issues, as increasing scarcity and pollution threaten food shortages, deteriorating public health, and the collapse of aquatic ecosystems.
Drawing on ideas from political ecology, the author brings together an analysis of the shifts in the concept of water and a material history of environments, infrastructures, and bathing. The book analyzes a range of issues concerning complex "water cultures" that have formed around Mexican groundwaters over time and suggests that this understanding might also help us comprehend and confront the water crisis that is coming to a head in the twenty-first century.
Casey Walsh is Associate Professor of Anthropology at UC Santa Barbara. He is the author of Building the Borderlands: A Transnational History of Irrigated Cotton along the Mexico-Texas Border.
"Virtuous Waters reminds us that, within wider homogenizing discourses, there are multiple unique waters, whose particular ‘virtues’ are central in defining how people have imagined, understood, and interacted with them over time. The cumulative appropriation of Mexico’s mineral springs by religious, state, and corporate agencies also highlights the importance of protecting community relationships with local water sources."—Veronica Strang, author of Gardening the World: Agency, Identity, and the Ownership of Water
"In this highly original and accessible study, Casey Walsh plunges readers into seldom explored depths of the cultural world of water in Central Mexico, providing a refreshing approach that goes beyond infrastructure to immerse readers in in routine practices of bathing, washing, and drinking water and their links to colonialism, public health, sexuality, tourism, and neoliberalism."—John Soluri, author of Banana Cultures: Agriculture, Consumption, and Environmental Change in Honduras and the United States