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STS Speaker Series. Arts of closure: settler cosmotechnics and dam removal on the Upper Mississippi River

Bruce Braun, University of Minnesota
Monday, March 18, 2024
4:00-5:30 PM
1014 Tisch Hall Map
How do we take apart things deemed harmful? In 2018 the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began a disposition study for three locks and dams in the only gorge in the Mississippi River, located in Minneapolis-St. Paul. The study has gathered diverse actors and communities, including vocal advocates for their partial or complete removal, echoing calls elsewhere for the dismantling of ruinous infrastructures. While dam removal advocates imagine a river set free, this paper turns to a precursor to the dams, first proposed in 1852, ten years before the Dakota uprising, to develop the idea of a “settler cosmotechnics” that imagined the Mississippi as a technical and infrastructural object, effacing Dakota cosmologies and territorialities as it displaced the river into the territorial and economic logics of the expanding settler state.

Bruce Braun is Professor of Geography in the Department of Geography, Environment and Society (GES) at the University of Minnesota. He is a specialist in political ecology, infrastructural politics, and settler environmentalisms. He is currently working on two projects: “Learning from Ada’itsx,” with Cliff Atleo and Michael Simpson, which explores the shifting territorialities, ecologies, and technopolitics of forestry on Indigenous lands in British Columbia, Canada, and “Dismantlings: the Art and Politics of Taking Things Apart,” which delves into the concrete practices and contentious politics of dismantling infrastructures deemed harmful or obsolete. He is the author of numerous books and articles, most recently Settling the Boom: Sites and Subjects of Bakken Oil (Minnesota, 2023).
Building: Tisch Hall
Event Type: Lecture / Discussion
Tags: Capitalism, Environment, Science, Technology, And Society Program
Source: Happening @ Michigan from Science, Technology & Society, Program in the Environment (PitE), Rackham Interdisciplinary Workshops