Reply To: 3. 3 March – River History

Author Replies # Posted on March 5, 2015 at 01:11

Ghide Habtetsion Gebremichael
Reflection of Current debates 2nd seminar
River History: Reconstructing urban development at a moving river:
Uppsala University, 04 March 2015

This reflection paper is based on the morning seminar about the CURRENT DEBATE “River History: Reconstructing urban development at a moving river”. The paper didn’t included the afternoon seminar as I only attended the morning discussion seminar.

It was more an engagement among each other. The seminar was meant for critical review of the reconstruction of Danube River in and around the city of Vienna, Austria by assessing two articles written about it. Accordingly, we tried to evaluate and pinpoint the actual process in its construction process. Therefore, we started to share our opinions and thoughts on the articles.

The first opinion most of us brought to the table was “the article showed that on how people tried to control and shaping and reshaping nature”. On the flipside of the coin also it shows also the possibility of environmental reconstruction depending on the historical data. For example we discussed about the possibilities of GIS, cartography, maps, fluvial assessment and other historical records.

the articles the authors was claiming that the use of historical data with GIS is pretty difficult. Particularly the historical maps and other historical records were produced for different purpose in different time. As a matter of fact to get the accurate data needs interdisciplinary approach. Especially they termed one of the article as “one step forwards and two steps backwards” to signifies that to understand one historical evidence leads to search another earlier historical records.

Also we talked about the article being presenting only the facts and finding. As a result more argument was developed here ‘on why the author didn’t theorize the whole process of reconstruction of the river’. In addition to that another question was raised on the issue of “the article didn’t discuss on ecosystem of fauna and flora and societal aspect which are living around the bank of the river or how it might affect for their life”. However the historical facts which the authors assumed on the construction of the river, was helpful for environmental academics.

Lastly the discussed goes with more doubt about the environmental implications of this article. Like “is this mean using historical data alone is possible to reconstruct nature?, Is this mean that a new paradigm shift on the environmental view? Or is it more like an open assessment by the audience by providing finding and data?”