Article ID: CBB001030899

Locating the Mississippi: Landscape, Nature, and National Territoriality at the Mississippi Headwaters (2010)


This study of the scientific production of nature at the Mississippi headwaters at Lake Itasca, Minnesota shows how national imaginings of geography were territorialized in the landscape and made available to an imagined national community. The exploration of the Mississippi, the establishment of its source, and the creation and maintenance of the headwaters landscape are all part of the geographic project of making the territory of the nation appear as a collection of timeless natural objects, a cultural process that accompanied the violent appropriation of indigenous land through which national territory was acquired. Because of the symbolic importance of the Mississippi River, its social construction as a "natural" object played a key role in constituting national territory, an imperialist project that simultaneously depended on and helped erase indigenous conceptions of and claims on the land. The landscape at Itasca State Park sustains this process and keeps it alive today.


Description On how Itasca State Park defines the symbolic cultural role of this natural feature.

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Authors & Contributors
Hanson, Elizabeth
Ross-Bryant, Lynn
Robinson, Michael H.
Divall, Colin
Wallach, Jennifer Jensen
Gilkeson, John S.
Environment and History
Religion and American Culture: A Journal of Interpretation
Isis: International Review Devoted to the History of Science and Its Cultural Influences
Diplomatic History
Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers
Early American Studies
University of Tennessee Press
Princeton University Press
Rowman & Littlefield
Cambridge University Press
University of California Press
Duke University Press
Nature and its relationship to culture; human-nature relationships
National identity
Natural history
Foucault, Michel
Downing, Andrew Jackson
Olmsted. Frederick Law
Time Periods
19th century
20th century
18th century
20th century, early
20th century, late
21st century
United States
Mississippi River (North America)
Great Britain
Tokyo (Japan)
Tennessee Valley Authority

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