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Grant number: FT-60884-13

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Michael Pasquier
Louisiana State University (Baton Rouge, LA 70808-4600)

Religion and Landscape in the Mississippi River Delta

This is a historical and ethnographic portrait of religion and landscape in the Mississippi River Delta. From Native American moundbuilders of the pre-colonial period to Army Corps personnel of today, people have tried to master the Mississippi. In doing so, they have built things--mounds, levees, churches, houses, cemeteries--into a highly fluid landscape that has always been susceptible to catastrophes of natural, human, and, according to some believers, supernatural origin. I examine this unstable space between natural, human, and supernatural forces in the lives of people with deep connections to the Mississippi, from the engineers who designed the modern flood control system to the residents who hope the system will work. What we learn is that the technological rationalization of the American landscape, however totalizing and seemingly complete, remains suspended in the American religious imagination, ever mindful of the limits of human reason and the capacity to control nature.

Project fields:
Religion, General

Summer Stipends

Research Programs

Total amounts:
$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2013 – 7/31/2013