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The ideal river

How control of nature shaped the international order

By Joanne Yao

The ideal river
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  • Price: £20.00
  • ISBN: 9781526154385
  • Publish Date: Mar 2022
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
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    Paperback -
  • Price: £20.00
  • ISBN: 9781526178701
  • Publish Date: Apr 2024
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
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    eBook +
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  • ISBN: 9781526154378
  • Publish Date: Mar 2022
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
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    Book Information

    • Format: Paperback
    • ISBN: 978-1-5261-7870-1
    • Pages: 264
    • Price: £20.00
    • Published Date: April 2024

    Description

    The environment has traditionally been a marginal concern in international relations, but the climate crisis has highlighted the importance of the relationship between society and the natural world.

    In The ideal river, Joanne Yao offers a remarkable account of how nineteenth-century efforts to tame nature shaped our modern international order. Examining historic attempts to establish international commissions on three transboundary rivers - the Rhine, the Danube and the Congo - she reveals how the Enlightenment ambition to master the natural world has informed our geographical imagination of the international.

    This idea of domination over nature shaped three concepts central to the emergence of early international order: the territorial sovereign state, imperial hierarchies and international organisations. As The ideal river shows, the relationship between society and nature is at the heart of international politics.

    Reviews

    Winner of the ISA 2024 Harold and Margaret Sprout Award

    Winner of the BISA 2023 L.H.M. Ling Outstanding First Book Prize


    2023 Sussex International Theory Book Prize (Honourable Mention)

    'This is a brilliant book: erudite, thoughtful, beautifully written, richly analysed and theoretically sophisticated. It makes us look again at the way control of rivers - as nature, as resource, as colonial or territorial space - has shaped so many international doctrines, institutions and contestations.'
    Laleh Khalili, author of Sinews of War and Trade

    'The book persuasively demonstrates how environmental politics can enrich our understanding of international organisations more generally.'
    Stefan Döring, International Affairs

    Contents

    Introduction: the ideal river
    1 The taming of nature, legitimate authority and international order
    2 Taming the internal highway: constructing the Rhine
    3 The 1815 Congress of Vienna and the oldest continuous interstate institution
    4 Disciplining the connecting river: constructing the Danube
    5 The 1856 Treaty of Paris and the first international organisation
    6 Civilising the imperial river: constructing the Congo
    7 The 1885 Berlin Conference and the international organisation that never was
    8 History is a river: the taming of nature into the twenty-first century
    Conclusion: the strong brown god of the Anthropocene
    Index

    Author

    Joanne Yao is a Senior Lecturer in International Relations at Queen Mary, University of London

    The ideal river

    By Joanne Yao

    Paperback £20.00 / $34.95

    Hardcover £85.00 / $120.00

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