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New Book by Corey Ross

Book Cover Liquid Empire / Corey Ross

Photo: Book Cover (Website) / Corey Ross (EIB)

How have the waters of the colonial world shaped the age of empire? This is the topic of a new monograph by Corey Ross. The book entitled “Liquid Empire: Water and Power in the Colonial World” offers a fresh account of European Imperialism told through the history of water. It has been published by Princeton University Press.

Spanning the major European empires of the period, Corey Ross’ latest book “Liquid Empire” delivers a rich account of how colonialism not only encompassed rainforests, deserts, and savannahs but also rivers, lakes, and seas. Water was a realm of imperial power, whose control and distribution were closely tied to colonial hierarchies and inequalities. Following the chronology of historical events, “Liquid Empire” covers topics such as the construction of water-related infrastructure, related imperial efforts in opening new land, and the development of colonial hydropower. Turning to the relationship between water, climate and legacies of empire as well, Ross’ book provides a unique historical perspective on the crises engulfing the world’s waters, particularly in the Global South, where billions of people are faced with mounting water shortages, rising flood risks, and the relentless depletion of sea life.

“Liquid Empire” is Corey Ross’ fifth single-authored book, following on monographs on the environmental history of European imperialism (“Ecology and Power in the Age of Empire”, 2017, Oxford University Press) and the history of modern Germany (“Media and the Making of Modern Germany”, 2008, Oxford University Press).

Corey Ross is Director of the Institute and Professor for European Global Studies. His expertise focuses on the history of imperialism and global environmental history in the 19th and 20th centuries. His research on the socio-environmental history of Europe’s relations with the rest of the world builds on interdisciplinarity, investigates the global, transimperial and transnational circulation of ideas, goods and people, and aims to highlight perspectives that are relevant to major present-day and future challenges.