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Global Research Institute Water in Our World Speaker Series
February 27, 2013 @ 5:30 pm
Don Reid, professor of History at UNC-Chapel Hill and a historian of modern France and a labor historian will discuss his book Paris Sewers and Sewermen: Realities and Representations (Harvard University Press, 1993) which examines the expansion of the Paris sewer system during the Second Empire and Third Republic as a technological and political triumph. Find it at Amazon.
In “Les Misérables,” Victor Hugo wrote of a dangerous disordered world in Paris and took readers to its underground counterpart, the city’s sewers. Yet within a few years of the novel’s publication, visitors to Paris considered their trip incomplete without being taken by sewermen on a boat ride through the city’s sewers. What happened and how did sewer workers and engineers change the way Parisians thought about what had been such a source of anxiety and fear not long before?