Issue Three : Summer 2016

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Detail from Edward Burtynsky (Canadian, b. 1955), Olfusa River #1, Iceland, digital chromogenic print, 2012. © Edward Burtynsky. Image courtesy of Nicholas Metivier Gallery, Toronto; Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York; and Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery, New York.

Finding Common Ground in Coastal Virginia: The Chrysler Museum Faces the Rising Tides

According to state officials, Coastal Virginia is home to the second largest U.S. population at risk from climate change (second only to the people of New Orleans). Because of the added problem of land subsidence, sea levels along the Virginia coast are rising faster than the global average, with some estimates projecting a relative sea level rise of two to five feet within 100 years.

Paddling the narrows of Splash Lake from Ensign Lake in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) in northeast Minnesota, a pristine, yet rugged wilderness established by Congress in 1978. The 1,000,000+ acre BWCAW is enjoyed by some 200,000 visitors annually. Photo by Alex Messenger. Courtesy of Messenger Photography.

What is Clean Water Worth?

Minnesotans are fortunate to live in a land rich in water resources. Clean water is part of our sense of place and cultural identity. Abundant water underpins our agriculture, manufacturing, and tourism industries. In theory, clean water should be incredibly valuable—water is essential to our lives and livelihoods. In practice, clean water is cheap.

Detail from 'Ocean flows colored with sea surface temperature data,' NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio.

Mapping Ocean Currents

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…

A large group of African-American spectators stands on the banks of Buffalo Bayou to witness a baptism, circa 1900. Courtesy of Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries.

Gods of the Mississippi

Nearly twenty years ago Thomas Tweed and a host of collaborators, responding to the cultural and historiographic shifts of the era, called for narratives of the United States’ religious past that “draw on new motifs and plots and include a wider range of settings and characters” than those available at the time.

Gov. Mark Dayton delivers the opening remarks of Minnesota's first-ever Governor's Water Summit. Photo by Alicia Uzarek, courtesy of Friends of the Mississippi River.

Making The Most of the Governor’s Water Summit

When over 800 Minnesotans gather in a windowless basement on the first beautiful spring-like day, there must be a compelling reason. In this case the reason was water.

In spring 2015, the Pollution Control Agency released a report stating that half or fewer of the lakes in Minnesota watersheds dominated by agricultural and urban land fully support the standard for safe swimming, among other things. Residents of the Land of 10,000 [Beloved] Lakes were alarmed and asked for change.

Landscape view of the curving Mississippi River at Mississippi Palisades State Park, Illinois.

Introduction to Issue Three

This issue of Open Rivers marks several new emphases for us. But then, when it’s only our third issue, there are going to be new emphases, right?

What we have here originates, I think, more from a foundation in scholarly inquiry than some of our previous work. It is less oriented to the Mississippi River. And it was proposed by guest editors, Nenette Luarca-Shoaf and Laura Turner Igoe, who are both art historians.