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Indian Ocean Worlds Book Club: How to Make A Wetland by Caterina Scaramelli

October 4, 2023 @ 3:00 pm

Join the Indian Ocean Worlds reading group in discussing this month‚Äôs selected book: Caterina Scaramelli‚Äôs How to Make a Wetland: Water and Moral Ecology in Turkey (Stanford University Press, 2021).

The event is hosted by a new group on the EDC platform, Sand Bundles.¬†This is a public-facing offshoot of a research group¬†titled ‘S.AND ‚Äď The Future of Coastal Cities in the Indian Ocean‘ at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Halle, Germany.¬†

The group‚Äôs research focuses on the role of granular material in (re)shaping coastal ecologies and driving urban metabolisms. They are always looking for more ‚Äúsand nerds‚ÄĚ to stomp around in their sandbox. Feel free to stop by, request group membership and join the discussion of How to Make a Wetland! (3pm CEST translates to 9am EST for those in the US)

The readings will be circulated on the group page for those who RSVP, or you can order a copy of the book from Bookshop.org.


Drawing on long-term fieldwork with farmers, scientists, and bureaucrats in two Turkish agrarian deltas, How to Make a Wetland explores how water, sediment, infrastructure, plants, and animals have come to matter in contemporary Turkey and what this reveals about the intersection of the moral and the ecological in the current moment. The ‚Äúwetland‚ÄĚ emerged as a globally significant category over the course of the 20th century, eventually becoming a key concept within Turkish state-making projects built on attempts to manipulate swampy nature. Drained marshes were transformed into sites for the resettlement of new Turkish subjects, for experimenting with new crops and technologies, and generated new nationalist reimaginings of place and history. As transnational scientific research and environmentalism cast the wetland in a starring role, Turkish farmers, scientists, and bureaucrats also drew on wetlands as a novel idiom for claiming divergent ecological futures. How to Make a Wetland shows how Turkish citizens articulate alternative moral visions of livelihood, governance, and science on the unstable ground of an innovative wetland politics in a decade of rising authoritarianism.

‚ÄĒScaramelli, blurb from author’s webpage