Jim Giesen, a MSU history professor will kick off the WaterWays lecture series with a presentation on the connection between the Mississippi River and human history.
There are few states where water has been more central to its history and culture than Mississippi. From ship-building on the coast to Native American migration along rivers and streams, from Civil Rights Movement wade-ins to Civil War strategy, water has played a central role in how and why the Magnolia state looks and operates as it does today. Jim Giesen will tell three interrelated histories of water in Mississipi to make the case that Mississippians today often overlook both the breadth and variety of ways that water has affected the history of their state. Depending on the location of the talk he will choose three topics with particular local resonance. From massive natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina and the 1927 Mississippi River Flood, to greate success stories like the ship-building and fishing industries, to less well-known incidents where water played an important role in the development of small communities and towns, the talk will tell not just the well-known water histories of the state, but show how water has become an often overlooked factor in our past, present, and future.
A Professor of History at Mississippi State University, Dr. Giesen researches and teaches in the area of American agricultural history and is currently writing a book about the place of agriculture within American culture.