watershed metropolis (ongoing)

a partial history of the providence river and its lifeworlds

Watershed Metropolis: The Providence River and Its Lifeworlds is about people’s relationships to water and waterways in greater Providence, Rhode Island. It asks how the presence of many different kinds of infrastructure–from fencelines to sewage overflow tunnels to bioswales–have mediated those relationships.

And it considers what sea level rise, along with the growing frequency of “hundred-year storms” might mean for the metropolis as it comes to terms with ecological troubles, aging infrastructure, municipal debt, and persistent structural inequalities.

It is a study of urban society, but one that includes fish, birds, plants, and water itself as social agents and co-producers of interpenetrating worlds.

Watershed Metropolis is my dissertation project, but it’s also an attempt to make sense of my own relationship to an enchanting and troubled place. I have lived most of my life within walking distance of the Pawtuxet and Providence rivers. And being so familiar, I cannot pretend to not be partial–but with that partiality comes an archive of lived experience that continues to enrich the narrative-in-progress. I am also thankful for the all the ways that this landscape continues to teach and provide for me, and conceive of this project as a way of giving back.