Emanuele Fantini

Senior Lecturer/Researcher in Water Politics and Communication


Access to water and its distribution are increasingly associated to conflict, competition and insecurity. As a political scientist I am interested in exploring spaces and practices of collaboration under these challenging circumstances. My research focuses on the role of culture - media, religion, nationalism, knowledge production... - and political organisations like the state or social movements, in facilitating or disrupting such forms of collaboration.

I am currently coordinating an action research project with journalists and researchers on the role of media and science communication in water conflicts and cooperation in the Nile, Brahmaputra and Lake Chad basins. I am also interested in interdisciplinary research and visual methods as a form of collaboration between and beyond disciplines. Since my Master thesis I have been doing research on the human right to water, and later I have been studying social movements against water privatisation in Italy. For my doctoral and post doctoral research I have studied the developmental state and the Pentecostal movement in Ethiopia, where I used to live and work for several years.

At IHE Delft I am the Coordinator of the MSc program in Water Management and Governance. I also coordinate the module "Leadership and collaboration for sanitation change" in the MSc Sanitation program, as well as the summer course Visual methods for water communication. I also teach and supervise students of the Master in Cultural Anthropology and Sustainable Citizenship of the University of Utrecht, as well as of the Master in International Development of the University of Amsterdam.

Committed to public engagement and crossover projects, and enjoying the collaboration with artists, photographers and journalists, I host the podcasts “The Sources of the Nile”, “Water Alternatives Podcast”, and "Si dice acqua". I am the editor of IHE Delft Water Governance Blog, FLOWs.

I am one of the members of IHE Delft Research Ethics Committee.

Beside academic work, I have more than ten years experience in international development cooperation, working both long term and consultancy positions for bilateral agencies (Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs), multilateral institutions (UN Habitat), local authorities and international NGOs, in Africa (Ethiopia, South-Sudan, Kenya-Somalia and Morocco), Serbia and Myanmar.


Fantini, E. and Buist, E. (2021). ‘Searching for the Sources of the Nile through a podcast: what did we find?’. JCOM 20 (02), N01. https://doi.org/10.22323/2.20020801.

Fantini, E. (2021), The Minister, the prophet and God's eye. Scientists voices in Nile media reporting, in Dewedar, R. (ed.) Water conflicts and Cooperation. A media handbook, CABI.

Fantini, E. (2019). Just like a movie: teaching visual storytelling on water. J-Reading-Journal of Research and Didactics in Geography, 2.

Zwarteveen, Kemerink-Seyoum, Kooy, Evers, Acevedo-Guerrero, Batubara, Faber, Flamini, Boakye-Ansah, Faber, Flamini, Cuadrado-Quesada, Fantini, Gupta, Hasan, ter Horst, Jamali, Jaspers, Obani, Schwartz, Shubber, Smit, Torio, Tutusaus (2017), The politics of water governance: distributions of water, authority, and knowledge. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews on Water.

Fantini (2017), Picturing Water. A review of Photovoice and similar participatory visual research on water governance, Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews on Water, vol 4, issue 5.

Carrozza and Fantini (2016), "The Italian Water Movement and the Politics of the Commons" (with C. Carrozza) in Water Alternatives 9(1): 99-119.

Fantini and Puddu (2016) "Ethiopia and International Aid: between high modernism and exceptional measures", in T. Hagmann and F. Rentyers (eds.), Aid and Authoritarianism in Africa. Development without democracy, Zed Books.

Villanucci and Fantini (2016) "Sante publique, participation communautaire et mobilisation politique en Ethiopie: la Women’s Development Army". in Politique africaine, (2), 77-99, (2016) DOI: 10.3917/polaf.142.0077

Fantini (2016) "Crafting Ethiopia’s Glorious Destiny. Pentecostalism and Economic Transformation under a Developmental State", in Archives de Sciences Sociales des Religions, 175 (juillet-septembre 2016), p. 67-86.

Chinigo and Fantini (2015), "Thermidor in Ethiopia? Agrarian Transformations between Economic Liberalization and the Developmental State", in EchoGeo, n. 31.

Fantini (2015), "The Italian Mobilisation for Water as a Commons: Moral Economy and Virtual Water", In F. Greco and M. Antonelli (eds.), The Water We Eat,  (pp. 123-135). Springer International Publishing.

"The political economy of the media in the somali conflict" (with N. Streamlau and R. Osman), in Review of African Political Economy, (published online 18 august 2015)

"Patronage, politics and performance: fadio call-in programmes and the myth of accountability" (with I. Gagliardone and N. Streamlau), in Third World Quarterly (published online 18 august 2015)

"Catholics in the making of the Italian Water Movement. A moral economy", in Partecipazione e Conflitto [PACO], Volume 7, Issue 1 (2014).

"Si scrive acqua. Attori, pratiche e discorsi nel movimento italiano per l'acqua bene comune" (with C. Carrozza), aAcademia University Press, Torino, (2013).

La politique de l'eau en Italie. Mouvements, savoirs, territoires (with C. Carrozza), in Journal des Antropologues, n. 132-133, pp. 461-467, (2013)

"Transgression and acquiescence: the moral conflict of Pentecostals in their relationship with the Ethiopian State", in PentecoStudies, vol. 12, n.2, pp. 205-230 (2013).



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