By Vera S. Candiani
Vera S. Candiani's Dreaming of Dry Land weaves a story that describes what colonization was once and seemed like at the flooring, and the way it affected land, water, biota, people, and the connection between them, to give an explanation for the origins of our equipped and unbuilt landscapes. Connecting a number of historiographical traditions—history of technology and know-how, environmental historical past, social heritage, and Atlantic history—Candiani proposes that colonization used to be a category, now not an ethnic or nation-based phenomenon, happening concurrently on either side of an Atlantic, the place state-building and empire-building have been intertwined.
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Additional resources for Dreaming of Dry Land: Environmental Transformation in Colonial Mexico City
This period, chronicled in Chapters 2, 3, and 4, fizzles out near the end of the century, when concerns over the incomplete state of the project and its implications for the safety of the city in an unprecedented rainy season ushered in greater scrutiny of how the D esagüe looked, functioned, and was built. After the initial period of consolidation, there were two waves of potential challenge to the established structure and way of doing things. The first wave, which marks the beginning of the Desagüe’s second period, came in the form of the increasing influence and presence of royal military engineers starting in the final quarter of the seventeenth century.
Conceptualization designates both how social and bureaucratic elites in the city valued water, land, biota, and energy and how this translated into a strategy of preserving wealth and rents in the city from what seemed to them to be their worst enemy—floods. Design refers to the materialization of this conceptualization in concrete structures, from the much celebrated tunnel to the most overlooked dirt dam. Humboldt noted with pain the detrimental effects of the Desagüe on indigenous survival through its history, and while lamenting the fact that the conceptualization had not included elements he thought essential to progress, he fundamentally agreed that the city had to be protected and that it was up to the elite to decide how.
After the initial period of consolidation, there were two waves of potential challenge to the established structure and way of doing things. The first wave, which marks the beginning of the Desagüe’s second period, came in the form of the increasing influence and presence of royal military engineers starting in the final quarter of the seventeenth century. This wave, which continued well into the eighteenth century, had limited or delayed impact, except for a few notable areas of practice. Chapter 5 is devoted mainly to describing this period in the Desagüe’s history.