Joseph and Anthony Amato's Essay Minnesota, Real and Imagined: A View from the Countryside is Published

Joseph Amato (Dean) and Anthony Amato (Assistant Professor) of the Center for Rural and Regional Studies at Southwest State University struck a chord with their recent essay entitled Minnesota, Real and Imagined: A View from the Countryside. The essay was first published in the Summer 2000 issue of Dædalus, the quarterly Journal of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. A prestigious journal in its 42nd year, Dædalus publishes path breaking articles that concentrate on concerns facing Europe, America, and the world at large. Over the years, issues have tackled multidisciplinary topics in art, literature, science, culture, religion, and politics. Minnesota: A Different America? is the first issue to focus on a single state. Texas had also been considered for this special regard, but the North Star state was the first to organize support of its project.

In their essay, Joseph and Anthony Amato claim that states are invented and reinvented by those who write about them. A feeling for the flavor of the controversial article is given in the following introductory paragraph: "The notion of a Minnesota culture immediately strikes observers as counterfeit. Minnesota, never a natural or cultural unit, was born and nurtured by continuous artifice. At the time of its founding, Minnesota was a fanciful invention used to draw immigrants to the state with the enticement of all the land they wanted in a 'bracing and invigorating climate.' Since then, various public and private agencies (some educational, some philanthropic, some commercial) have increased their power, prestige, and profit by fostering select representations of the state. From Hollywood to National Public Radio, promoters have turned Minnesota into a consumable and profitable commodity."

By early spring, the essay will be published in the Rural and Regional Essay Series distributed by the Center for Rural and Regional Studies at Southwest State University. The essay's pointed statements have also caught the attention of editors at the Minnesota Historical Society Press. Greg Britton, Director of the Minnesota Historical Society Press, says they plan to republish the entire Dædalus issue in book form by March 1, 2001. "Minnesota, Real & Imagined" has been selected as the title of the book and its namesake will be the third essay. In republishing this volume, the Minnesota Historical Society aims to make an enduring contribution to what Minnesota was, is, and is to become.

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Last updated: March 21, 2006