Cultural Genealogy: Method for a Historical Sociology of Culture or Cultural Sociology of History

Roman Hydraulics in the Pyrenees (6)

Chandra Mukerji University of California, USA

Building water systems was routine in the Pyrenees. Peasants even used stair- cases of temporary dams to carry timber down shallow rivers. They put logs in the reservoirs behind the dams, and waited for the rainy season. The swollen rivers would break the dams in sequence and carry the timber downstream to deeper water and lumber mills.

Roman practices were central to their repertoire of hydraulic techniques. Contour cutting had been used by the Romans for their aqueducts. The arches they used to carry water over valleys may have been identified with Roman aque- ducts, but the conduits themselves ran mainly underground. And although the Romans sometimes tunnelled directly through mountains just as they crossed straight across valleys with arches, more often they kept them close to surface level. The keeper of Rome’s water supply in the first century AD, Sextus Julius Frontinus (1913), noted that the conduits needed frequent repair, and this was easier if the work did not entail a lot of digging. On the other hand, local estate owners often pierced aqueducts where they ran above ground to use the water for irrigation. So where it was possible, aqueduct designers kept the conduits under- ground, following contours, and meandering through the countryside to do it.

This was familiar to people in the Pyrenees who lived near former Roman colonies that had had baths. These were fed with water from springs that were carried some distance into town. The baths themselves had been abandoned, but the captures and reservoirs at the sources had other uses. Peasants built new canals, following contours to take water to their houses and towns. They also diverted river water, a practice that the Romans abhorred, and controlled it with weirs, sluices, and settling ponds to clarify the water and take it where it was needed (Froidour, 1892: 57–8; Mukerji, forthcoming; Soulet, 2004: 83–8).

Complex water systems existed across most of the mountain chain, but were found in the greatest density near the former Roman colony of Bigorre. Louis de Froidour, Colbert’s most relied upon forest surveyor, fell ill near Bigorre doing his studies of the king’s woods. Staying in this town to recuper- ate, he noted how many ways they used water there: for domestic supplies, agri- cultural uses, town defenses, gardens, mills, and, public laundries. He said that the canals were maintained and perfected mostly during the summer months, when men took the flocks to highland meadows. This left the bulk of the labour (and expertise) to women and children. Significantly, the indigenous systems built with Roman methods were centered not on baths, but rather on domestic water systems and public laundries. These design features served women, and also evoked Pyrenean gender culture in a deep way (ACM, 21–2; ACM, 21–18; Froidour, 1892: 31–2; Soulet, 2004: 83–8).

Women were associated with water sources, and fairies with laundries. Men were said to fall in love with fairies they would encounter in the woods doing their wash. Some lucky men even secretly married these magical creatures; that was the assumed source of truly happy marriages (Gratacos, 2003: 143–84; Marliave, 1996: 21, 150–70; Sahlins, 1994: 40–60). A famous intermittent.water source was also said to be run by fairies under the mountain. When they were doing their laundry, they would turn the water on, and it would flow into the valley. When they were done, they would turn off the water, and the stream would go dry (Mukerji, forthcoming).

Springs were often marked as sacred sites associated with women. A Virgin shrine was built where two rivers from the Gazost source met. The seeps in this area contained hot, warm and cold water, and were associated with the female powers of the mountains (Marliave, 1996: 13). The Virgin shrine was built on foundations of stones arranged in circles and enclosed in a walled space like pre-Christian shrines in this area. For Pyrenean peasants who inhabited this world, hydraulics made sense as women’s work, since the miraculous powers of water were already assumed to be in female hands (Gratacos, 2003: 131–83; Marliave, 1996: 21, 150, 161, 170; Sahlins, 1994: 40–60).

References

Primary sources:

Papers from the Archives du Canal du Midi are marked as ACM with a file and document number. Some of the documents are titled; others are not. There are a few printed sources from the archives:

Le 14 octobre 1666, l’Arrêt d’adjudication des ouvrages à faire pour le canal de communication des Mers en Languedoc est promulgué. Ce même jour, le Roi ‘fait bail et délivrance à M. de Riquet des ouvrages contenues au Devis’ préal- ablement défini sous l’autorité du Chevalier de Clerville. Reprinted in ‘Edit du Roy pour la construction d’un canal du communication des deux mers, Océane & Méditerrannée. ACM 03–10.

Claude Bazin, ‘Bail et Adjudication des Ouvrages à Faire Pour la Continuation du Canal et du Port du Cette, 20 Août 1668’, 9, section x, Archives de Canal du Midi (ACM), folder 07, item12 (07–12).

Secondary sources:

Adgé, Michel (1992) ‘L’Art de l’hydraulique’, in Conseil d’Architecture, d’Urbanisme et de l’Environment de la Haute-Garonne, Canal Royal de Languedoc: Le Partage des Eaux, pp. 202–3. Caue: Loubatières.

Alexander, Jeffrey (2003) The Meanings of Social Life. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Apostolidès, Jean-Marie (1981) Le Roi-Machine: Spectacle et Politique au Temps de Louis XIV. Paris: Editions de Minuit.

Bechmann, Roland (1993) Villard de Honnecourt. Paris: Picard.

Becker, Howard and Faulkner, Robert (2006) ‘Studying Something You Are Part Of: The View from the Bandstand’, Paper presented at the International Conference ‘Ethnographies of Artistic Work’, Sorbonne, Paris, September 2006.

Belidor, Bernard Forest de (1753) Architecture Hydraulique, Seconde Partie Qui Comprend l’Art de Diriger les Eaux dès la Mer & des Rivières à l’Avantage de la Défense des Places, du Commerce & de l‘Agriculture. Paris: Jombert.

Bellah, Robert, Madsen, Richard, Sullivan, William, Swidler, Ann and Tipton, Steven (1988) Habits of the Heart. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. Bergasse, Jean-Denis (ed.) (1985–1986) Le Canal du Midi (Vols 1–4). Cessenon:

J.-D. Bergasse. Blanchard, Anne (1979) Les Ingénieurs du Roy de Louis XIV à Louis XVI.

Montpellier: Université Paul-Valéry. Blanchard, Anne and Adgé, Michel (1985) ‘Les Ingénieurs du Roy et le Canal de

Communication des Mers’, in Jean-Denis Bergasse (ed.) (1985–1986) Le Canal

du Midi (Vol. 3), pp. 181–94. Cessenon: J.-D. Bergasse. Bouillet (1693) Traite des Moyens de Render les Rivieres Navigables avec Plusieurs

Desseins de Jettées. Paris: Chez Estienne Michallet. Bourdieu, Pierre (1984) Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste

(Richard Nice, trans.). London: Routledge and Kegan Paul. Burke, Peter (1992) Fabrication of Louis XIV. New Haven, CT: Yale University

Press. Carruthers, Mary J. (1990) The Book of Memory: A Study of Memory in Medieval

Culture. New York: Cambridge University Press. Carruthers, Mary J. (1998) The Craft of Thought: Meditation, Rhetoric, and the

Making of Images, 400–1200. New York: Cambridge University Press. Collins, Harry (1985) Changing Order: Replication and Induction in Scientific

Practice. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Collins, Randall (2004) Interaction Ritual Chains. Princeton, NJ: Princeton

University Press. Conseil d’Architecture, d’Urbanisme et de l’Environment de la Haute-Garonne

(1992) Canal Royal de Languedoc: Le Partage des Eaux. Caue: Loubatières Degage, Alain (1985) in ‘Le Port de Sète: Proue Méditerreanéenne du Canal de Riquet’, in Jean-Denis Bergasse (ed.) (1985–1986) Le Canal du Midi (Vol. 4),

pp. 265–306. Cessenon: J.-D. Bergasse. Degage, Alain (1987) ‘Un Nouveau Port en Languedoc (de la fin du XVIe siècle au

début du XVIIIe)’, in Jean Sagnes Histoire de Sète, pp. 47–52. Toulouse: Privat. DiMaggio, Paul (1997) ‘Culture and Cognition’, Annual Review of Sociology 23:

263–88. Foucault, Michel (1965) Madness and Civilization (Richard Howard, trans.). New

York: Vintage Books. Foucault, Michel (1970) The Order of Things. New York: Pantheon Books. Foucault, Michel (1977) Discipline and Punish (Alan Sheridan, trans.). New York:

Pantheon. Froidour, Louis de (1892) Memoire du Pays et des États de Bigorre (Intro and notes

by Jean Boudette). Paris: H. Champion, Tarbes: Baylac. Frontinus, Sextus Julius (1913) The Two Books on the Water Supply of the City of

Rome of Sextus Julius Frontinus, Water Commissioner of the City of Rome A.D. 97. New York: Longmans, Green.

Gabolde, Bertrand (1985a) ‘Riquet a Versailles Vu par le Conteur Charles Perrault’, in Jean-Denis Bergasse (ed.) (1985–1986) Le Canal du Midi (Vol. 1), pp. 185–9. Cessenon: J.-D. Bergasse.

Gabolde, Bertrand (1985b) ‘Les Ouvriers du Chantier’, in Jean-Denis Bergasse (ed.) (1985–1986) Le Canal du Midi (Vol. 3), pp. 235–7. Cessenon: J.-D. Bergasse. Goffman, Erving (1959) The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. New York:

Doubleday. Goffman, Erving (1963) Behavior in Public Places. Glencoe: Free Press. Gratacos, Isaure (2003) Femmes Pyrénéennes, un Statut Social Exceptionel en

Europe. Toulouse: Editions Privat. Grewal, Interpal and Kaplan, Caren (1994) Scattered Hegemonies. Minneapolis,

MN: University of Minnesota Press. Hall, Stuart (1990) The Question of Cultural Identity. London: Polity Press. Haraway, Donna (1990) Primate Visions: Gender, Race and Nature in the World

of Modern Science. New York: Routledge. Joyce, Patrick (1998) ‘The Return of History: Postmodernism and the Politics of

Academic History in Britain’, Past and Present 158: 207–35. Joyce, Patrick (1999) ‘The Politics of the Liberal Archive’, History of the Human

Sciences 12: 35–49. Joyce, Patrick (2003) The Rule of Freedom: Liberalism and The City in Britain.

London: Verso. Knorr-Cetina, Karin (1999) Epistemic Cultures. New York: Cambridge University

Press. Konvitz, Josef W. (1978) Cities and the Sea: Port City Planning in Early Modern

Europe. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press. La Lande, M. de (1778) Des Canaux de Navigation, et Spécialement du Canal de

Languedoc. Paris: Chez Veuve Desain. Lipsitz, George (1990) Time Passages: Collective Memory and American Popular

Culture. Minneapolis, MD: University of Minnesota Press. Long, Elizabeth (ed.) (1997) From Sociology to Cultural Studies: New Perspectives.

New York: Blackwell. Long, Pamela O. (2001) Openness, Secrecy, Authorship: Technical Arts and the

Culture of Knowledge from Antiquity to the Renaissance. Baltimore, MD:

Johns Hopkins University Press. Maistre, André (1998) Le Canal des Deux-Mers: Canal Royal du Languedoc,

1666–1810. Toulouse: E. Privat. Marliave, Olivier de (1996) Tresor de la Mythologie Pyreneene. Luçon: Editions Sud

Oust. Morrison, Elting (1974) From Know-how to Nowhere. New York: Basic Books. Mourgues, Matthieu de (1992) ‘Relation de la Seconde Navigation du Canal Royal,

1683’, quoted by Philippe Delvit, ‘Un Canal au Midi’, in Conseil d’Architecture,

p. 206. Mukerji, Chandra (1997) Territorial Ambitions and the Gardens of Versailles.

Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Mukerji, Chandra (2002) ‘Cartography, Entrepreneurialism and Power in the Reign

of Louis XIV: The Case of the Canal du Midi’, in Pamela Smith and Paula Findlen (eds) Merchants and Marvels: Commerce, Science and Art in Early Modern Europe, pp. 248–76. New York: Routledge.

Mukerji, Chandra (2006) ‘Tacit Knowledge and Classical Technique in Seventeenth- Century France: Hydraulic Cement as Living Practice among Masons and Military Engineers’, Technology and Culture 47: 713–33.

Mukerji, Chandra (forthcoming) ‘Women Engineers and the Culture of the Pyrenees’, in Pamela Smith and Benjamin Smith (eds) Knowledge and Its Making in Europe, 1500–1800. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Neraudau, J.P. (1986) L’Olympe du Roi Soleil. Paris: Société des Belles-Lettres. Nietzsche, Friedrich (1956) Birth of Tragedy and the Genealogy of Morals (Francis

Golffing, trans.). Garden City, NJ: Doubleday. Orwell, George (1950) 1984. New York: Signet Classics. Patterson, Orlando (1998) Rituals of Blood: Slavery in Two American Centuries.

New York: Basic Books. Rich, Motoko (2006) ‘“Opal Mehta” Won’t Get a Life After All’, The New York

Times, 3 May. Rolt, L.T.C. (1973) From Sea to Sea: The Canal du Midi. London: Penguin &

Indiana University Press. Rosental, Claude (2005) ‘Making Science and Technology Results Public. A

Sociology of Demos’, in B. Latour and P. Weibel (eds) Making Things Public.

Atmospheres of Democracy. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Sahlins, Peter (1994) Forest Rites: The War of the Demoiselles in Nineteenth-

Century France. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Schudson, Michael (1992) Watergate in American Memory. New York: Basic Books. Schudson, Michael (1998) The Good Citizen: A History of American Public Life.

Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. Schwaller, Martine (1994) Ensérune: Carrefour des Civilizations Protohistoriques

(2nd Edition). Paris: Imprimerie Nationale. Schwartz, Barry (2000) Abraham Lincoln and the Forge of National Memory.

Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Smith, Pamela (2004) The Body of the Artisan. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago

Press. Smith, Pamela and Findlen, Paula (eds) (2002) Merchants and Marvels: Commerce,

Science and Art in Early Modern Europe. New York: Routledge. Steinmetz, George (2005) The Politics of Methods in the Human Sciences: Positivism

and its Epistemological Others. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Soulet, Jean-Francois (2004) Les Pyrenees au XIXe siècle. Bourdeaux: Sud Ouest. Swidler, Ann (1986) ‘Culture in Action: Symbols and Strategies’, American

Sociological Review 51: 273–86. Treichler, Paula (1999) How to Have Theory in an Epidemic. Raleigh, NC: Duke

University Press. Vallancey, Charles (1763) A Treatise on Inland Navigation or the Art of Making

Rivers Navigable: Of Making Canals in all Sorts of Soils, and of Constructing

Locks and Sluices. Dublin: Printed for George and Alexander Ewing. Wagner-Pacifici, Robin (2005) The Art of Surrender: Decomposing Sovereignty at

Conflict’s End. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Wuthnow, Robert (2003) All in Sync: How Music and Art are Revitalizing American

Religion. Berkeley and Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press. Wuthnow, Robert and Evans, John (2002) The Quiet Hand of God: Faith-Based Activism and the Public Role of Mainline Protestantism. Berkeley, CA:

University of California Press. Zerubavel, E. (1985) The Seven Day Circle. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

SILAKAN BERI KOMENTAR

Temui Kami di Facebook

Statistik

  • 1386Dibaca Hari Ini:
  • 1839Dibaca Kemarin:
  • 15323Dibaca Per Bulan:
  • 348109Total Pengunjung:
  • 1272Pengunjung Hari ini:
  • 14546Kunjungan Per Bulan:
  • 11Pengunjung Online: