First, briefly, the basic navigation of this site: If you click on the “Findings” tab at the top, you’ll find posts that record my gathering of materials and first thoughts. Many of the “Findings” are photographs. In the Pages box at the right, you’ll find links to a longer text under the heading “The Narrative,” divided into numbered chapters. This narrative is a chronicle of my research and thinking process and the gradual development of my ideas. If you click on the tab labeled “The Narrative” above, you can find a brief synopsis of what’s in each chapter. (They are also linked on that page.)
In the Pages box at the right (and in a tab above), you will see a category called “Outcomes.” These are more finished pieces of writing (an essay and a couple of talks, so far) deriving from the work found in “Findings” and “The Narrative.” You can find more detail about them by clicking on “Outcomes” itself.
And now for some sense of what the heck is going on here, over all.
I’m an English professor at Simmons College, in Boston, and I was on sabbatical from July 2007 to September 2008. During my sabbatical I proposed to work on a book that would be about water, in some to-be-defined way. The basic idea was to take one non-expert (me) interested in issues around water and human survival, give this guy a year to do research (a sabbatical), and see what happened. I thought that the book, should it come to pass, might be as much about the learning process as about water itself. (This turned out to be true of “the narrative” on this website.) The original working title was “Follow the Water.”
I’ve been devoting much time and energy to thinking about man’s relationship with nature, and trying to get my head around the epistemology that an ecological worldview entails. For example, if we think about ourselves as part of the ecosystem, how does that affect the way we think about this scene?
I’d like to avoid prejudging the human role here. It’s easy to say that the scene above is ironic, but if we are a part of the ecosystem, it isn’t ironic, it just is. I’m interested in starting with “it is” rather than “it shouldn’t be” — and then I’ll see what happens.
I set up this site in order to publish the narrative of my learning process, and — on a parallel track — to focus more narrowly, and more visually, on the questions implicit in the title. In what I’m calling “Findings” I concentrate on those places, like the one in the header photo, where a man-made environment abuts a watery and in some sense natural one. I keep hoping to find and photograph and reflect upon more such places where water finds its way through the interstices in our domination of nature.
All photos are by yours truly unless credited to someone else.
The Water Margin by
Lowry Pei is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.
This means that you are free to copy, redistribute, transmit, remix, reuse, build upon and otherwise play around with the work found on this site, as long as:
you attribute it to me, with a link to this site (and without implying that I endorse you or your use of the work — which of course I may never see)
you do not use it for commercial purposes
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