Knowledge Others, Others’ Knowledge

The Need for a New Epistemology of Water

  • Kuntala Lahiri-Dutt The Australian National University
Keywords: Water, Epistemology, Rivers, Feminist Methods, Scientific Methods


This paper examines the ways in which knowledge about water has conventionally been generated by modern water scientists and illuminates how this approach leaves out the diverse “ways of knowing” water and how scientism creates a trap of concrete evidential certainty. Through the example of a failed conversation, it questions the basic epistemological underpinnings of understanding water in modern scientific inquiries—the means of knowing rivers, and how they conflict with feminist epistemologies and fail to account for the “knowledge others” and “others’ knowledge”. The paper concludes with observations on why we need new epistemologies of water in the Anthropocene.


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Author Biography

Kuntala Lahiri-Dutt, The Australian National University

Crawford School of Public Policy, ANU College of Asia and the Pacific, The Australian National University, Room 3.25, JG Crawford Building, Lennox Crossing, ACTON, ACT 2601


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Special Section: New Epistemologies of Water in India