Amidst Gottmann's political geographies of circulation and territory, water played a crucial, if discreet, role. From ancient times through to the post-1945 new world order, Gottmann thought through the geo-political effects of hydrological competition. In this paper, I sketch this facet of Gottmann's thought by examining published writings and archival sources from 1948 to 1955. In this journey, I begin by tracing his increasing fascination with the geopolitical potential of dams, regional planning and cloud-seeding in the United States, Europe and the Middle East. First enchanted by the Rooseveltian Tennessee Valley Authority model and its diplomatic uses, Gottmann gradually sophisticated his thinking in the context of Arab-Israli hydric conflicts. Interestingly, however, this reflection on water politics after 1945, also led Gottmann to revise his account of the relations between hydrology and territory historically. Teaching in Sciences-Po in the mid 1950s, Gottmann recuperated ideas of his teacher E.F. Gautier and combined them with Solly Zuckermann's account of territoriality to query the psychological and material forces at play behind the emergence of territorial institutions in ancient civilizations. Thus, I claim, Gottmmann's postwar reflections on hydric geo-politics offer a rich conceptual episode, which shows modernist enthusiasm with new models of geo-technology and regional planning being balanced against a more wary geopolitical and historicist sensibility. For our own time, so rife with urgency over global environmental governance, this episode offers a fruitful example to challenge certainties and skepticism alike with regards to our own ideas about environmental geopolitics.
Keywords: Jean Gottmann|History of Geographical Thought|Territory|Environmental Change|Geopolitics