CONFERENCE: Watermarks (Abstract)

Victoria Hattam

The New School for Social Research

I have encountered waterways in my research for some time: urban creeks and backwaters in New York, Melbourne, and Shanghai; liquid metaphors for capital flows in global supply chains; and the designation of the US-Mexico border in the middle of the Rio Grande. Although none of the sites directly engage the sea, water is central to each. I was not looking for waterways, but came across them inadvertently while searching for other things. All three sites are interesting on their own terms, but their political significance reaches beyond their particularity. By presenting them together, draws attention to liquidity as a site of politics. Refuge and mobility are key, but there is more to be said. Liquids are not easily marked on or contained; it is more difficult to draw a line in the water than in the sand. Liquidity has an agency lurking within that might inspire new political imaginaries for challenging the hyper securitized territorial politics that has taken hold in many regimes.