2019 – ongoing
Nicholas Brown, Ryan Griffis, and Sarah Kanouse
Mobile seminar and event series, publications

Over the Levee, Under the Plow is an ongoing, multi-part project that addresses the concept of the Anthropocene from the context of the specific and ongoing legacies of settler-colonialism in the US Upper Midwest.

Organized by Nicholas Brown, Ryan Griffis, and Sarah Kanouse (with many other contributors on specific components), it began as a commission by the Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW) for the expansive Anthropocene Curriculum initiative and the Mississippi: An Anthropocene River program. Key components include:

  • A traveling seminar focused on the continuing legacy of settler-colonialism and indigenous resistance in North America in the context of global ecological change.
  • A series of publications and other materials that attempt to offer adaptable tools for reflection and becoming responsible guests in a multitude of social and ecological contexts.


The five-day Over the Levee, Under the Plow seminar brought together representatives of the Ho-Chunk Nation, artists, scholars, and activists throughout the proximate, yet differently shaped, landscapes of the “Driftless” region of Southern Wisconsin/NW Illinois and the agricultural “Corn Belt” of Central Illinois. September 25 – 29, 2019.
More information on the specifics of this program can be found on the Anthropocene Drift website and the HKW website.

Above: Images from the seminar
1. View of Moraine Terminal (a mobile tent structure and literature table designed by Jon Lund and banners by Dylan AT Miner)
2. Inside Moraine Terminal
3. Moraine Terminal in use during a workshop with seminar contributor Dr. Beth Rose Middleton Manning at the Kickapoo Valley Reserve Visitor Center.
4. Randy Poelma (Ho-Chunk Nation Division of Environmental Health) leads a group through Ho-Chunk managed land on the former Badger Army Ammunition Plant near Baraboo Wisconsin.
5. Participants on a guided walk by contributors Professors Stephanie Springgay and Toby Beauchamp.
6. “Sovereign Foods & Languages” panel discussion at Augustana College (pictured: Professor Jackie Rand, Donetta Wanatee (Meskwaki Food Sovereignty Initiative), Mary Young Bear (Meskwaki Historic Preservation), Yolanda Pushetonequa (Meskwaki Language Preservation), Christine Nobiss (Seeding Sovereignty).


A set of loosely defined guidebooks collectively titled Field Guides to the Anthropocene Drift assembles images, texts, maps, and other information, around key themes and locations in the lands commonly referred to as the Upper-Midwest of the United States. Each guide is accompanied by a set of exercises, reflective prompts, and questions that form an experiential curriculum inspired by the lands and lifeways the artist-authors find themselves in, and where they occupy identities assigned privilege: non-disabled, cis-gendered, white-settler.

Organized and designed by Ryan Griffis/Sarah Kanouse.

Contributors included: Nicholas Brown/Rozalinda Borcilă (with Lance Foster); Ryan Griffis; Sarah Kanouse; Heather Parrish/Sam Muñoz; Corinne Teed (with Francis Bettelyoun, Rhonda Funmaker, Jodee Smith).

Images: Field Guides: 5 x 7.75 inch perfect bound books, 4-color risograph and digital printing; Curriculum cards: 5 x 7.75 inch 4-color digital printed cards; Mobile device formatted cards.