Big Water

The Making of the Borderlands Between Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay

Jacob Blanc (Editor), Frederico Freitas (Editor), Zephyr Frank (Foreword)
Ebooks (Open Access) Read Online
Hardcover ($55.00) Buy
Big Water explores four centuries of the overlapping histories of Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay (the Triple Frontier), and the colonies that preceded them. Examining an important area that includes some of the first national parks established in Latin America and one of the world’s largest hydroelectric dams, this transnational approach illustrates how these three nation-states have interacted over time.
From the Jesuit reductions in the seventeenth century to the flows of capital and goods accelerated by contemporary trade agreements, the Triple Frontier region has proven fundamental to the development of Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay, as well as to the Southern Cone and South America itself. Although historians from each of these three countries have tended to construct narratives that stop at their respective borders, the contributors call for a reinterpretation that goes beyond the material and conceptual boundaries of the Triple Frontier. In offering a transnational approach, Big Water helps transcend nation-centered blind spots and approach new understandings of how space and society have developed throughout Latin America.
These essays complicate traditional frontier histories and balance the excessive weight previously given to empires, nations, and territorial expansion. Overcoming stagnant comparisons between national cases, the research explores regional identity beyond border and geopolitical divides. Thus, Big Water focuses on the uniquely overlapping character of the Triple Frontier and emphasizes a perspective usually left at the periphery of national histories.

Shawn Michael Austin
Jacob Blanc
Bridget María Chesterton
Christine Folch
Zephyr Frank
Frederico Freitas
Michael Kenneth Huner
Evaldo Mendes da Silva
Eunice Sueli Nodari
Graciela Silvestri
Guillermo Wilde
Daryle Williams
"This book is must-read for the historical geographer interested in settler colonialism, borderlands, local- level analysis, and a clear picture of who resides in the Triple Frontier region. Moreover, it offers much to scholars of South America and those interested in interdisciplinary research."—Kari Forbes-Boyte, Historical Geography

“Contains rigorous but easy-to-read scholarship that makes for an excellent introductory text about the Triple Frontier region.”—Julia Sarreal, American Historical Review

“Excellent, and timely, edited collection.”—H-Net Reviews

“Collectively, the essays that make up Big Water show that the insights of borderlands history stand to apply transcontinentally and toward understandings of global interconnectedness.”—Choice

"(This book) highlights the region’s unique characteristics and leaves the reader wanting to learn more about this overlooked but important borderlands. Hopefully it spurs further studies that move away from the urban metropolises of the Southern Cone and transcend national boundaries."—Longue Duree, Hispanic American Historical Quarterly

“A seminal, multidisciplinary study of the less understood but ever-so-important corner of South America known as the Triple Frontier. Big Water analyzes the many dimensions of the region’s past through sound borderlands, environmental, economic, and social history lenses.”—Sterling Evans, University of Oklahoma
Big Water
344 Pages 6 x 9
Published: April 2018Hardcover ISBN: 9780816537143
Published: May 2020Ebooks (OA) ISBN: 9780816541737

For Authors

The University of Arizona Press publishes the work of leading scholars from around the globe. Learn more about submitting a proposal, preparing your final manuscript, and publication.



The University of Arizona Press is proud to share our books with readers, booksellers, media, librarians, scholars, and instructors. Join our email Newsletter. Request reprint licenses, information on subsidiary rights and translations, accessibility files, review copies, and desk and exam copies.


Support the Press

Support a premier publisher of academic, regional, and literary works. We are committed to sharing past, present, and future works that reflect the special strengths of the University of Arizona and support its land-grant mission.