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Questions about water are often implicitly about systems of power. The benefits and impacts of how water is used, distributed, and accessed are unevenly distributed. Water thus becomes a site where the inequalities in society are made visible and contestation arises. The readings listed here offer a sample of some of the ways water is implicated in systems of inequality and work toward social justice.
For millennia, Native American people traveled and traded on the Mississippi River. When colonial powers moved into North America, they quickly saw the importance of controlling transportation and the movement of goods on the river. In 1820, The United States government established Fort Snelling at the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers to protect American fur trade interests in the region and to gain a foothold in the western territory that would become Minnesota.
…A movement has grown at Standing Rock, inspiring the largest gathering of American Indian tribes in over a century. In attempting to understand this historical contestation over water resources and tribal sovereignty, the question of treaty rights has been on the lips of Standing Rock water protectors, as well as scholars, community leaders, politicians, and commentators.
The images here show three configurations of Minneapolis’ Upper Harbor Terminal landscape across a century. Together, these images demonstrate the temporal layering of a physical and social landscape, highlighting changes over time; my analysis aims to illuminate how these changes emerge at the intersection of humans and nonhumans, and point us toward an alternative perception and ethic of co-creating the world.
How can a map visualize a water current—something that is powerful and physically palpable, but that lies beneath the surface and is largely invisible to the eye? In a recent map, scientists at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) represented the course of the Gulf Stream in the Atlantic Ocean through swirls of vibrant color denoting its thermal temperature…