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Children swinging on the pond’s banyan tree. Image courtesy of the author.

The Gift of Water

India today faces a wide variety of issues related to water management. These include flooding during the several-month monsoon season, a lack of water during the dry season, depletion of groundwater stores, and unreliable water pipelines bringing water into cities…

A group of people are on a large boat with a flat gathering area. They are all listening to an instructor.

We Are Water MN: Relationship-Based Water Engagement

A project of the Minnesota Humanities Center (MHC) and Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), in collaboration with the Minnesota Departments of Health, Natural Resources, and Agriculture as well as the Minnesota Historical Society, We Are Water MN strives to bridge the disconnect between scientific knowledges about water and human practices and engagements with water.

We Are Water MN exhibits are shown here in the Institute on the Environment space at the University of Minnesota.

We Are Water UMN

An unassuming email with the subject line “possible to talk about hosting a water-community exhibit in LES?” came through my inbox midday on February 27, 2018. Little did I know this email would change the way I looked at my work at the Institute on the Environment (IonE) and spark my drive for collaborations within and outside the University community in respect to absent narratives.

A modern groundwater well in an ancient depression. Q'eqchi' farmers are taking advantage of ancient landscape practices for their own subsistence. Image courtesy of Alexander Rivas.

Ethnography and Archaeology of Water in the Maya Lowlands

Procuring potable water is an important factor for daily life in the semitropics, especially for contemporary populations in rural Guatemala. Seasonal subsistence practices are crucial for survival, especially regarding agriculture, droughts, and flooding. This article focuses on the Salinas de los Nueve Cerros region in Alta Verapaz, Guatemala to highlight contemporary land-use practices among the Q’eqchi’ Maya, their adaptations to flooding, droughts, and uses of different water resources.

Aerial shot of the sun reflecting off the Amazon.

Uncovering Amazonia

“Amazonia”—the word alone can conjure up a lot of images, some accurate and some wildly not. In truth, it has many definitions, ranging from a specific drainage basin to a tropical ecological world. For most of my childhood, such kinds of tropical “jungles” were places of peril to be avoided. The very word “Amazon” conjured up Joseph Conrad’s images from Heart of Darkness ([1899] 2015), albeit that book was about the Congo in Africa.

Archaeological site of Aukispukio in a now uninhabited area of the Cordillera Blanca mountain range.

Multiple Ways of Understanding Peru’s Changing Climate

In this article, we consider how the perspectives and experiences of contemporary people facing climate change can enrich our archaeological interpretations of climate change in the past. In particular, we present an ethnographic study from highland Peru that highlights the complex and varied ways people are responding to environmental uncertainty, and explore how their perspectives and responses have led us to question and expand the narratives we construct about ancient people.