Streams of knowledge: river development knowledge and the TVA on the river Mekong

Vincent Lagendijk*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Web of Science)


This article revisits how plans for the development of the Southeast Asian river Mekong took the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) as a template. Existing literature focuses on the role of the United States administration, seeing their TVA-related activities as an internationalization of New Deal policies. This article, however, argues that the role of regional actors like the Mekong Committee, and of international organizations (IOs) such as the United Nations and the World Bank, was also essential. It shows that both regional actors as well as IOs cross-fertilized American knowledge with indigenous and colonial knowledge in plans for developing the Mekong.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)316-337
Number of pages22
JournalHistory and technology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2019


  • River development
  • Tennessee Valley Authority
  • development history
  • international organizations
  • knowledge transfer

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