Downstream: Reimagining water (Christian and Wong, 2018)

Christiana Zenner


Christian, D. and Wong, R. (Eds). Downstream: Reimagining water. Wilfred Laurier Press, 300 p., ISBN: 978-1-77112-213-9, Paperback US$28.


Christiana Zenner

Department of Theology, Fordham University, USA; email:



This volume is an important contribution to emerging literature on water ethics and water ontologies. It begins from the recognition that indigenous cultural knowledge and practices regarding water have been invalidated by settler-colonial value systems, extractive practices, and legal presumptions. Downstream demonstrates the ethical and conceptual commitment to surfacing and centralizing local and customary understandings of water, especially those carried by generations of indigenous knowledge-holders. Intended to contribute "to the formation of an intergeneration, culturally inclusive, participatory water ethic", Downstream exemplifies this in both methodology and content. Born out of conversations, collaborations, and conferences conducted over more than a decade, the volume includes essays by tribal representatives, Water Keepers, scholars, poets, and artists that collectively demonstrate how “Indigenous resurgence” of values and practices are necessary parts of any de-colonial, emerging water ethic. Contributors hail primarily from Asian and North American Pacific coastal regions. The volume consists of 21 chapters in four sections plus an Introduction: Part I, Contexts for Knowing and Unknowing Water; Part II, Water Testimonies: Witness, Worry, and Work; Part III, Shared Ethical and Embodied Practices; Part IV, A Respectful Coexistence in Common: Water Perspectives. Downstream is essential reading for any scholar of water, values, and governance in the present day – especially so for those who may be skeptical of its premises.

Additional Info

  • Authors: D. Christian, R. Wong
  • Year of publication: 2018
  • Publisher: Wilfred Laurier Press
  • Reviewer: Christiana Zenner
  • Subject: Water governance
  • Type: Introduction
  • Language: English