Anthropocene River Campus: The Human Delta

Nov 10–16, 2019

River Campus | Creative Commons

River Campus | Creative Commons

In the Mississippi delta, the Anthropocene interdependencies that can be observed along the entire course of the river appear to condense. Here, huge dams are used to control the currents and sediment deposits in order to keep New Orleans above water. Industrial harbors that link the material flows of the Mississippi with the world market are located here. Stories of settlement and displacement, from indigenous cultures to the time of European colonization and the “Black Atlantic” to the upheavals of Hurricane Katrina, overlap one other on a small area here.

Against this background, the one-week campus in New Orleans brings together the results of the five Field Stations. In seminars, project participants and local initiatives discuss the research questions underlying the project: What impact does the transport of raw materials, goods and people have on the river system? How did humans create the present shape of the river? How does the Mississippi demonstrate the interplay between human interests and ecological problems? How can a balance be struck between “natural” and “artificial” systems? Who owns the land and water and how did these ownership structures come about?

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