Mississippi Studies re-imagines the river and its tributaries as a coherent cultural and research corridor, fostering new ways of conceptualizing its shared environment, heritage, and rich role in the history of the United States.
Because of ACM colleges’ proximity to the Mississippi River and its tributaries, we can have an important role in drawing attention to the challenges facing the region, including:
- Increasing frequency and severity of flooding and other major natural hazards
- Accumulation of runoff and water pollution
- Glaring urban and rural political, economic and racial divides
- Regional population’s health and economic vitality
The 31-state watershed (an area that includes nearly all ACM colleges) allows for engagement with the water that connects us all. Because these ideas can be applied to any proximate body of water, this meeting would be of interest to researchers at all ACM colleges.
*Note: Content adapted from original proposal
The ACM Planning Meeting on Mississippi Studies will develop a new research initiative to encourage intercollegiate collaboration on publicly engaged projects centering on the Mississippi River.
This initiative will start the long-term objective to create the Mississippi River Research Barge, a floating cultural and scientific research platform that travels the length of the river promoting translocal collaboration and the integration of scientific research with the arts, humanities and social sciences.
We identify these learning opportunities:
Define the Mississippi and its tributaries as a shared object of study and interconnection. Research will think about the Mississippi as involving and/or impacting multiple communities.
Engage diverse constituencies along the Mississippi, including ACM colleges, scientific and cultural institutions, and urban, rural and underserved communities.
Bring researchers together to create integrated interdisciplinary research opportunities and share data, resources, research techniques that span the sciences, social sciences, arts and humanities.
Model for Off-campus Research
Mississippi Studies can be a model for off-campus research by creating new ways to conceptualize the region and opportunities for students to pursue research on different ACM campuses and field stations.
Mississippi Studies is about collaboration and innovation at its core. It fosters them in the following ways:
New model for Defining Community
This project redefines community boundaries from artificial human constructs (what state, county, city, rural township, or college is one from?) to natural boundaries (what watershed does one live in?).
This approach will facilitate the creative problem solving that is needed to address the challenges described above. We will formulate interdisciplinary research questions that span the arts, sciences, humanities and social sciences.
To initiate Mississippi Studies, we propose a two-day immersive workshop. We will select 12-14 (depending on budget) faculty participants who match the initiative’s priorities. The primary activities include the following:
June 18-20, 2018 | Launch of Mississippi. An Anthropocene River
Encourage Mississippi Studies affiliated ACM faculty to participate at Macalester College and Weisman Art Museum.
Summer 2018 | Contact potential participants
Reach out to additional ACM colleagues to participate in the planning meeting.
Late August/Early September 2018 | ACM Planning Meeting on Mississippi Studies
A mix of participant-led talks and small group discussions hosted at Luther College or Macalester College.
Fall 2018-Fall 2019 | Build a network of Mississippi Studies researchers
Explore and develop opportunities for collaboration between Mississippi Studies and Mississippi. An Anthropocene River.
Fall 2018 | Grant Opportunities
Identify and apply for funding opportunities, including NSF informal STEM learning grant.
Winter 2018 | Strategic Vision
Finalize the framework with meeting participants and publish online.
November 2019 | Concluding event for Mississippi. An Anthropocene River
At the Bywater Institute at Tulane University (New Oreleans).
Further develop a website for outreach, coordination and dissemination purposes. Content for the website will include materials generated during the meeting, definition and description of Mississippi Studies, information on the project team, the strategic plan, and research materials.
We have been invited by the Haus der Kunst der Welt and Max Planck Institute to collaborate on the “Anthropocene River,” a year-long, six symposia and conference series research project along the Mississippi River in Fall 2019.
Research & Public Scholarship
We will connect urban and rural communities along the Mississippi River through workshops and public sessions, resulting innovative, interdisciplinary research that can be disseminated in a variety of ways, including journals, public exhibitions and performances.
Outcomes and Significance
Define Mississippi Studies’ goals and directions and a timeline. Identify the important research questions to address and effective ways to address them.
Consider how the project can model off-campus research in how it engages the region, collaboration and interdisciplinarity in its planning, coordinating and organizing research that occur on the Barge and in other contexts and locations.
Define how elements of this vision can be realized before the establishment of a Barge (i.e. smaller boats, existing field stations, and road-based research).
Future Grant and Funding Opportunities
identify funding and grant opportunities to support Mississippi Studies. One opportunity we will pursue (ideally, as a consortium of ACM colleges) is a large NSF informal STEM learning grant (deadline November 2018) which would allow us to powerfully support opportunities defined above.
Network of Partners and Collaborators
Building a vibrant network of ACM researchers and associated scholars who will work together on future collaborative projects is imperative to this project.
Develop a website for outreach, coordination and dissemination purposes.