Field Studies & Community Engagement on the Mississippi River

An Undergraduate Field Course in Geography

In the context of various historic cultural geographies, this course will consider the Mississippi river as both a historical and imaginative site, a place where a diversity of peoples have lived, worked, loved, fought and died, and also as a geographic space and place that has played a central role in the imaginations of those peoples. We will focus especially on the ways in which Americans have constructed and reshaped the river, and the cultural and environmental repercussions of those actions.

This course will also offer students from all majors an opportunity to be part of an interdisciplinary field team that will explore the Mississippi River firsthand. We will embark on a 9-day field visit and service-learning project with Living Lands and Waters, and as such we will spend the majority of our time on the legendary Mississippi River.

Learning Objectives

  • Students will gain a comprehensive knowledge of the social, cultural, political and environmental geography of the Mississippi River.
  • Students will understand aspects of the popular representations of the river both past and present.
  • Students will research and present a contemporary environmental issue using critical thought.
  • Students will make disciplinary connections, be active in research and field work and be able to communicate findings verbally, geo-spatially, in writing and using other media formats.

Syllabus