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We Live in the Water

Climate, Aging, and Socioecology on Smith Island

Jana Kopelent Rehak

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A captivating story of environmental crisis and community on Smith Island in the Chesapeake Bay.

Island environments are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of rapidly rising waters, accelerating ecological crisis. While we often think of this environmental reality in terms of the Global North and South, Alaska, or Micronesian or Indian nations, the devastating effects of a changing climate are also found on islands in the mid-Atlantic. In We Live in the Water, anthropologist Jana Kopelent Rehak sheds light on the profound impacts of a changing environment on the small coastal community of...

A captivating story of environmental crisis and community on Smith Island in the Chesapeake Bay.

Island environments are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of rapidly rising waters, accelerating ecological crisis. While we often think of this environmental reality in terms of the Global North and South, Alaska, or Micronesian or Indian nations, the devastating effects of a changing climate are also found on islands in the mid-Atlantic. In We Live in the Water, anthropologist Jana Kopelent Rehak sheds light on the profound impacts of a changing environment on the small coastal community of Smith Island in the Chesapeake Bay.

This fascinating ethnographic account of Smith Island residents examines the challenges faced by an aging community that is grappling with flooding, land erosion, and population loss. By combining socioecology, life course theory, and eco-phenomenology, Kopelent Rehak offers a comprehensive understanding of how people's engagement with their ever-changing environment shapes their ways of being. We Live in the Water offers a fresh perspective on the human dimensions of changing climate, inviting readers to witness the complex interactions between the environment and the island's collective identity. Through vivid narratives and firsthand accounts, Kopelent Rehak explores the islanders' deep connection to their land and how they reinvent their traditions over generations.

By bridging the gap between ecological studies and environmental anthropology, Kopelent Rehak provides a compelling framework for understanding the impacts of environmental crises on local communities and emphasizes the importance of integrated research in shaping public discourse.

Reviews

Reviews

Jana Kopelent Rehak documents how a sense of place enables Smith Islanders to cope and hope in the face of erosion, sea level rise, aging, and socioeconomic change. This placemaking, constructed with faith, knowledge, memories, relationships, and work, is instructive and timely as changing weather and climate are affecting all communities.

We Live in the Water is both an extraordinarily sensitive work of ethnography and a timely intervention in contemporary debates on climate change, aging, and the challenges that face coastal communities. In lucid prose, Kopelent Rehak provides a moving account of change, community, and hope. 

About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
6
x
9
Pages
240
ISBN
9781421448428
Illustration Description
35 b&w photos, 1 b&w illus
Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction. The Politics and Poetics of the Weather World
Chapter 1. Weather Is Everything
Chapter 2. Ways of Knowing
Chapter 3. Land and Water
Chapter 4. Shifting Grounds
Chapter 5. Broken Bodies

Preface
Introduction. The Politics and Poetics of the Weather World
Chapter 1. Weather Is Everything
Chapter 2. Ways of Knowing
Chapter 3. Land and Water
Chapter 4. Shifting Grounds
Chapter 5. Broken Bodies
Chapter 6. The Taste of Things and Comic Relief
Chapter 7. The Art of Creative Futures
Epilogue. Ethnographic Poetics
Acknowledgments
Bibliography
Index

Author Bio
Jana Kopelent Rehak
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Jana Kopelent Rehak

Jana Kopelent Rehak (BALTIMORE, MD) is a cultural anthropologist, visual artist, photographer, filmmaker, and professor at Johns Hopkins University. She is the author of Recovering Face: Czech Political Prisoners and coeditor of The Politics of Joking: Anthropological Engagements.