River sos

Chilton Tippin

Ph.D. Student, Environmental Anthropology at CU Boulder

River— Knowing multiple waters

An Anthropological Perspective on Water and the Río Grande/Bravo

This talk raises the possibility of a pluralized understanding of water that could radically remake how people live in relation with rivers. Anthropology Ph.D. student Chilton Tippin delves into the cultural and historic roots of the modern water crisis as climate change and industrial contamination threaten to plunge the Río Grande/Bravo into permanent decline. In telling this tale of science and empire—which runs in many ways through the history of water along the Río Grande—he asks: What does it mean to talk of the death of a river? How do basic assumptions about water contribute to a river's depletion? And what can diverse cultural perspectives teach us about water's fundamental multiplicity?

Taos Center for the Arts Taos, NM

Film Synopsis

A stunning exploration of the timeless relationship between human civilization and Earth's rivers, in all their majesty and fragility.

    An exploration of the timeless relationship between human civilization and Earth's rivers. Spanning six continents, this visual and musical tour-de-force is by turns celebratory, cautionary, and ultimately hopeful that we are beginning to understand rivers in all their complexity and fragility. Narrated by Oscar Nominee Willem Dafoe. With music by the Australian Chamber Orchestra and Radiohead.

    Photo credit: Greenwich Entertainment

    About the Speaker

    Chilton Tippin is an environmental anthropology Ph.D. student at CU Boulder who works with people along the Rio Grande/Bravo to understand how they grapple with drought and water contamination. He's particularly interested in how people mobilize to defend water and how cultural systems like science, law, custom, and capitalism shape peoples' senses of water and relations with rivers.