The American Bottom Gazette is the public print arm of a wider project gathering stories, histories, geographies, and practices from the Mississippi River floodplain region near St. Louis. The American Bottom takes its name from the bottomland floodplain that extends from the confluence of the Illinois/Mississippi rivers down to the confluence with the Kaskaskia river—and is site to the social and spatial aspirations of pre-contact Native Americans, 17th-18th century colonial settlement, 19th century industrial expansion, 20th century infrastructural consolidation, and 21st century ecological precarity and resistance. While a coherent geological interval it is currently defined less by its geographical and social commonalities and more by the industrial patterns that have effectively fragmented this region into closed parcels of extraction and belonging.
The Gazette is available for free in cultural and public spaces across the region—from local museums to post offices to libraries and city halls. The goal is to foreground the incredible history and ongoing cultural practices of this region, and to reconnect a fragmented region to a shared understanding of place. The Gazette is written, produced, and conceived with the collaboration of a core editorial team (Alisa Blatter, Jennifer Colten, Matthew Fluharty, and Jesse Vogler) along with guest contributors—and has been supported through a number of cultural initiatives including Art of the Rural, The Divided City at WashU, and the Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin.
A long-term, collaborative initiative grounded in the cultures, communities, and histories of the Upper Mississippi River region.