What is it about Minnesota? It is the land of Ventura and of Keillor, a state with both America's most visited wilderness area and the nation's largest shopping mall, and a state with a population equally divided between the metropolitan and the rural. Considering these apparent dichotomies, why has the state emerged as a cultural symbol of a distinct and perhaps lost America? Does this symbol even reflect reality? Thirteen perceptive essays by keen observers explore the past, present, and possible future of a place that is full of contradictions yet unified in its exceptionalism.
How is it that a state widely regarded for its enlightened and progressive political tradition would elect a former professional wrestler as its governor? How is it that a place where the most significant cultural divide was once between Lutheran and Catholic is now the home of 15,000 Somalis and 50,000 Hmong? Why is it that this state in the middle of America has a strong awareness of, and a tradition of involvement in, international affairs? Why do Minnesota corporations have such a strong tradition of philanthropy – and what will become of this tradition as more of them are engulfed by national and multinational mergers?
Minnesota, Real & Imagined, which originated as a special issue of Daedalus: Journal of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, examines the real and mythical Minnesota in perceptive and engaging ways. After reading these essays, you'll never see Minnesota the same way again.
Atkins, Annette. “Facing Minnesota.” In Minnesota, Real & Imagined: Essays on the State and Its Culture, edited by Stephen Richards Graubard, 27-45. St. Paul, MN: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2001.