Floods and Fountains: Toxicity and Revitalization through Newark's Waterworks


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships




Across the United States, cities face the immediate challenges of aging and inadequate water systems. The declining state of infrastructure introduces a number of water insecurities to cities, causing severe disruptions, compounding fragilities in environmental systems, and exposing humans to sewage and toxic chemicals. Based on fieldwork conducted in Newark, New Jersey, “Floods and Fountains” is an ethnography of urban water insecurity and infrastructure disrepair, which examines how water and water management shape political subjectivities and social relations over time. Keyed to the compounded realities of chronic flooding, tap water contamination, and waterway pollution in Newark, this project explores how people grapple with the vulnerabilities and effects of unsafe water flows.