Campus News Banner


UK Anthropology Professor
Wins MacArthur Grant

By Ralph Derickson

Photo of Paul B. Trawick
Paul B. Trawick

In one of the farming irrigation systems Trawick will study in Spain, some of the water is privately owned and is often bought and sold in a local water market. After the work in Spain, he intends to study water systems in Chile which has a national water market.

 

March 27, 2003 (Lexington, Ky.) -- Paul B. Trawick, assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Kentucky, has received a $75,000 grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to study irrigation systems in Spain.

Trawick, who has been on the UK faculty for six years, is also the author of a book about the history of irrigation systems in Peru. The book, titled “The Struggle for Water in Peru: Comedy and Tragedy in the Andean Commons,” was published in November 2002 by Stanford University Press.

The research to be conducted under the MacArthur grant will be carried out in the Spanish communities of Valencia, Murcia and Alicante for one year beginning in July, Professor Trawick said. “Basically, my work is devoted to showing that water markets – such as the private ownership of the water company here in Lexington – are not really beneficial to the societies in which they are located,” he said.

In one of the farming irrigation systems Trawick will study in Spain, some of the water is privately owned and is often bought and sold in a local water market. After the work in Spain, he intends to study water systems in Chile which has a national water market. “The fieldwork will attempt to show that people in several locales in the two countries have arrived at the same sustainable solution to the challenge of water management, one that has nothing to do with the profit motive or the law of supply and demand,” he said. “Basically, the study is concerned with showing that these water markets do not work in the manner they are widely thought to work, and that water privatization is not really beneficial to society.”

A native of Jasper, Ala., Trawick has a bachelor of science degree in anthropology from the University of Oregon, a master’s from the University of Texas and a doctorate from Yale. Before coming to UK, he taught for a year at Johns Hopkins University and worked as a consultant for the World Bank in Washington, D.C.

Trawick also recently produced an article for the magazine Natural History about irrigation in the Andes. The article is accessible at www.amnh.org/naturalhistory/.


Back to Campus News Homepage