Introduction to Issue Twelve

Detail from Hydrographical Basin of the Upper Mississippi River by Joseph Nicolas Nicollet, 1843.
Detail from Hydrographical Basin of the Upper Mississippi River by Joseph Nicolas Nicollet, 1843.

By Patrick Nunnally, Editor

A year or so ago, when I met with Amélie Allard about her work on the fur trade in Minnesota, I was interested generally in her observations about that contested, fraught place and time. When she mentioned that participants understood space from the perspective of rivers and water, rather than land, I was hooked, and asked her to think about editing an issue of Open Rivers. This issue is the result, and her guest editor’s introduction speaks more eloquently than I could to the themes and questions raised here. So, read her introduction, and then the other pieces in this issue. You may never think about the lakes region of Minnesota and Canada in exactly the same way again.

Speaking of reading that rearranges one’s perspective, I highly commend Lark Weller’s discussion of Ta- Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me. When I have told people that this piece was in the works, some have asked why a journal on water would address a title that is this central to contemporary debates on race in America. My response: why wouldn’t we? I think Weller’s piece creates exactly the kind of extended conversation we need on issues of water, place, and community.

Our other columns are likewise provocative. John Crippen asks us to rethink what we think we know about historic sites along the Mississippi River. Kelly Meza Prado invites consideration of how innovative web-based technologies allow South American farmers to communicate across regions about water conservation. Craig Colten reminds us that rivers are important components of the multifaceted water dangers that come with hurricanes, although they don’t get as much attention as inundations from tides. And finally, Kat Hayes’ reading of mid-nineteenth-century news accounts in Minnesota points out, unhappily, that maybe we haven’t progressed as much in a century and a half as we might wish.

This issue, which closes our third year of publication, provides the happy occasion to thank all of the many, many people—readers, writers, reviewers, and more—who work to make the journal the insight-filled thing of beauty that it has become. On behalf of our editorial team, and our partners at the University of Minnesota Libraries Publishing Services Division, I thank them and assure them, and you, that we could not do it without them!

There’s a lot to enjoy in this issue. Happy reading!

Recommended Citation

Nunnally, Patrick. 2018. “Introduction to Issue Twelve.” Open Rivers: Rethinking Water, Place & Community, no. 12.


Download Introduction to Issue Twelve by Patrick Nunnally, Editor.