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Past Events

Trapped by History:
the Past and Future of the Upper Mississippi River

September 9, 2014, 7:00pm. Best Buy Theater, Northrop

The Mississippi River today has become an artifact of human construction, because of what humans have done to it over the past 150 years. Navigation improvements, floodplain levees, a refuge, and even early biological manipulations have transformed the upper Mississippi River’s physical and ecological character. A key question we face today is: Are we trapped by that history, or can we make changes that will ensure that the river’s ecosystems are healthy and abundant. In his presentation, Dr. John O. Anfinson will try to answer these questions and hint at where the upper Mississippi River may be headed.

Strategies for a Sense of Place: Taking Advantage of Location
Discussion with John M. Bryson & Pat Nunnally

September 25, 2014, 4:00pm. Crosby Seminar Room, Northrop

The U of M is a world class teaching, research, and engagement institution located on the banks of one of the great rivers of the world in a national park. Taking strategic advantage of this location is a challenge. There are many things that could be done. What would be the best to do, and why?

Unnatural Disasters: How Law Hurts, How Law Can Help

October 9, 2014, 4:00pm. Crosby Seminar Room, Northrop

How do human social and economic aspirations interact with environmental imperatives of water and water bodies? Can acknowledgement of our own responsibility for unnatural disasters lead to better laws and better decisions in the future? Sandra Zellmer teaches and writes about natural resources, water law, public lands, wildlife, environmental law, and related topics.

The Presence of the Past:
Memory, Fiction, and the Contemporary Landscape

October 30, 2014, at 4:00pm. Crosby Seminar Room, Northrop

Mary Relindes Ellis, author of The Bohemian Flats (2014), Catherine Watson, memoir and travel writer, and Scott Vreeland, Minneapolis Park Board Commissioner, talk about how the past is an important part of their work. Moderated by Pat Nunnally, River Life Program.

Backwater Blues: Environmental Disaster and African American Experiences

March 31, 2015, at 4:00pm. 1210 Heller Hall.

What can studies of environment tell us about African American experiences? Join this panel for a discussion about the challenges and possibilities of working at the intersection of race and the environment from a variety of disciplinary perspectives.

The Once and Future River:
Imagining the Mississippi in an Era of Climate Change

April 8-10, 2015. Northrop.

The Mississippi River has been considered a quintessential “American landscape,” represented in the cultural imagination through the writings of Mark Twain and historical paintings, maps, and photographs. We know that a changing climate is changing the way we use the river; how will our stories and images need to change as well?