The interdisciplinary research network brings together anthropologists, historians and geographers from six countries to examine how 200 years of river management transformed the Danube. It focuses on its lower part, downstream of present-day Serbia. Being a border region, it was subject to different legal and administrative regimes shaped by empires, international organizations, nation states, state socialism and the European Union. Furthermore, the Lower Danube was (and remains) an area of geo-political contestation between different national and transnational processes. We are interested in local manifestations of a more general development, for rivers and their wetlands increasingly became the object of governance from the late-eighteenth century onwards.
Climate change and the loss of biodiversity are among the most pressing issues of our time. Current efforts to stop and even reverse the ecological degradation of the Lower Danube require a thorough historical investigation to understand how and why damage occurred in the first place. Being paradigmatic arenas of human intervention into nature, rivers can shed light on the short- and long-term consequences of environmental change.