The University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus sits on both banks of the Mississippi River, one of the world's great waterways. The river has sustained the land, plants, animals, and peoples who have lived on it for millennia, yet too often it remains a blue line on a map, or "just water," a minimizing of its power, necessesity, and history. In the spring of 2015, the Institute for Advanced Study, along with the River Life program, presented a symposium entitled "The Once and Future River: Imagining the Mississippi in an Era of Climate Change," which was funded by the Andrew W.
The effects of climate change range from nearly imperceptible to immediate and undeniable, though the rapidly increasing pace of those changes means the undeniable effects are more and more common across all human experience, no matter what climate you live in.
In "Let Them Drown," the 2016 London Edward W. Said lecture, Naomi Klein called attention, as Rob Nixon's Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor had done, to the nexus of climate change, (colonial) racism and poverty. But she shifted the spotlight onto the oft-overlooked low-lying island nations. And their current day situation is dire.
In the song “Immigrants (We Get the Job Done)” from Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton Mixtape, the settlement of the Americas is framed through liberal understandings of arrival that transform chattel slavery and forced labor into the exceptional narratives of pulling oneself up from hard labor to freedom. It reflects current political mobilizations against xenophobia and immigration bans that insist that we are all immigrants to the Americas. And it erases completely the ongoing colonization of Indigenous peoples and lands.
Evelyn Nakano Glenn | Settler Colonial Legacies: U.S. Racial Formation, American Exceptionalism and White Nationalist Xenophobia
In what world do we imagine the past to be settled in light of its refusal to perish and allow things to start over anew? What are the conditions that make for this imagining, this fantasy or rather, demand of a new start point?