Professor Bonier’s essay “Woven Imaginations: Stories of fluidity and fixity in coastal Louisiana” has been published in Ephemeral Coast – Visualizing Coastal Climate Change (Vernon Press, 2022).
This essay takes the waters of coastal Louisiana as its starting point, considering the webs of living things, systems, and structures that exist below, above, and within the Mississippi Delta’s moving edges. If water underlies all life in this region, the violent legacy of slavery, racism, white supremacy and social injustice permeates the networks that bind human and non-human life and health in this complex terrain. The stories, cycles, living beings, and material practices that connect the vastly disparate scales and shifting edges of the Louisiana coast are bound together by relationships that are difficult to visualize, hydraulic and social dynamics that were partly submerged long before climate change was recognized as an existential threat. With a focus on infrastructural and socioenvironmental history, this essay critically evaluates the ways particular lenses and logics contribute to the escalating vulnerability of the Mississippi River Delta and Louisiana’s Gulf Coast.
photo credit: C. Bonier, Old River Auxiliary Control Structure, Louisiana