Saturday, December 28, 2013

Swedes in the upper Midwest - "North Coast creoles?"

... as I have said somewhere else, when you take an intellectual ride on a metaphor, it is important that you know where to get off. -- Ulf Hannerz ("Flows …" 6).

Map based on census figures showing highest percentages in Illinois in Mercer, Henry, Warren and Knox and Winnebago and Boone. Nationally the highest percentages are in Minnesota and Michigan's upper peninsula.

File:Swedish Americans 2000 Census.svg

Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

James P. Leary, Polkabilly: How the Goose Island Ramblers Redefined American Folk Music. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006.

In their introduction to an issue of the Journal of American Folklore devoted to the topic, editors Robert Baron and Ann C. Cara declare, "Creolization is cultural creativity in process." ... Baron and Cara go on to enumerate distinctly creole musical forms ("jazz, salsa, calypso ... the tango, the mambo, the samba"), while they and fellow contributors located creolization in tropical climes where European traders, soldiers, missionaries, and colonizers encountered African, Arab, and East and American Indian peoples -- implicitly suggesting that cultural fermentation occurs only amid extreme heat and humidity.

Surely their "cultural and critical lens" would neither fog up nor freeze if refocused to include the Upper Midwest. Here, putatively superior Anglo-American elites were never completely successful in forcing the assimilation of supposedly inferior Woodland Indian and European immigrant peoples. Here, musical interactions have long been distinguished by egalitarianism, by freewheeling accommodation and blending across complex boundaries. Here reside North Coast creoles. … (12)

Ulf Hannerz, "Flows, Boundaries and Hybrids: Keywords in Transnational Anthropology." Published in Portugese as "Fluxos, fronteiras, hibrids: palavras-chave da antropologia transnacional" Mana (Rio de Janeiro), 3(1): 7-39, 1997.

Anyway, here we are now, with hybridity, collage, mélange, hotchpotch, synergy, bricolage, creolization, mestizaje, mongrelization, syncretism, transculturation, third cultures and what have you; some terms used perhaps only in passing as summary metaphors, others with claims to more analytical status, and others again with more regional or thematic strongholds. Mostly they seem to suggest a concern with cultural form, cultural products (and conspicuously often, they relate to domains of fairly tangible cultural materials, such as language, music, art, ritual or cuising); some appear more concerned with process than others. [13]

Also, this:

Once I had started thinking in flow terms here, it occurred to me as I continued to look at variations in the organization of culture that this worked rather well as a root metaphor, in the sense of leading on to further elaborations. Not only does the idea of flow stand in opposition to static thought. It implies, moreover, that we may think of mighty rivers and tiny rivulets, separate currents as well as confluences, "whirlpools" (according to Barth, above), even leaks and viscosity in the flow of meaning. Yet as I have said somewhere else, when you take an intellectual ride on a metaphor, it is important that you know where to get off. If for some purposes you find it useful to think about culture as flow, then, no need to believe it is a substance you can pour into bottles. [6]
The metaphor here is cultural "flow," which Hannerz defines (more or less!) like this: "… the term has become transdisciplinary, a way of referring to things not staying in their places, to mobility and expansion of many kinds, to globalization along many dimensions" (4).

North Coast? What's that?

There's a North Coast Festival on Chicago's North Side, which Wikipedia describes, with links, as "an annual electronic music festival held over Labor Day weekend in Chicago at Union Park." Official website at

Seems to be in general use as a synonym for the Great Lakes States or the upper Midwest, though.

Kyle Nabilcy "A new way of looking at Midwestern eats in James Norton's The Secret Atlas of North Coast Food." Isthmus [Madison, Wis.] Dec. 13, 2013.

There's some contention about whether the Upper Midwest needs rebranding as the "North Coast," largely around the precise coordinates. Schools in Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania comprise the Division III North Coast Athletic Conference, and Brookings Institute scholar John Austin wrote a paper in 2007 about preserving America's North Coast, though he never really defines the term.

Enter The Heavy Table, a Minneapolis-based online food magazine. Founded in 2009, it has been dedicated to charting the ebbs and flows of dining in the Upper Midwest -- mostly the Twin Cities, but the rest of Minnesota as well adjacent states, including Wisconsin and Iowa. Madison native James Norton is the founding editor and his wife, Becca Dilley, is a founding photographer whose work has appeared in many media outlets.

If the team behind Heavy Table has its way, "North Coast" may yet come to refer to the aforementioned three states, thanks to its new book, The Secret Atlas of North Coast Food. The book was funded via a successful Kickstarter campaign (of which I was a proud backer), and Norton held a Madison launch party at Kitchen Gallery on Thursday night to celebrate the book's release. Local contributors John Kovalic, Lindsay Christians, and Sean Weitner were also in attendance, with the delicious wares of Barriques, Batch Bakehouse, Calliope Ice Cream, Candinas, and Wisco Pop ringing the bustling atrium that housed the event.

Though everything was as tasty as you'd expect -- Batch baguettes, Brandy Old Fashioned and Hot Peanut Butter ice creams from Calliope -- Barriques in particular really brought its A-game, with both chocolate-covered bacon and an innovative hot coffee punch spiked with black pepper and ginger. It wasn't clear if the two were meant to be consumed in concert, but the pairing definitely worked. The crowd swelled to fill the space between Kitchen Gallery and Context by an hour into the party, and Norton was in heavy demand, both handing out Kickstarter backer copies and autographing them on request.

* * * food magazine based in Minneapolis -- "We are interested in small, neighborhood restaurants; ethnic eateries with a story to tell; great home cooking; Upper Midwestern culinary traditions; stuff that’s hilarious; recipes that work; recipes that fail spectacularly; current events; local food; heirloom food; and people at all levels of the food creation, preparation, distribution and consumption chain."

John C. Austin, Soren Anderson, Paul N. Courant, and Robert E. Litan. America’s North Coast: A Benefit-Cost Analysis of a Program to Protect and Restore the Great Lakes. Ann Arbor: Council of Great Lakes Industries, 2007.

This report focuses on one area of the United States—the counties bordering on America’s five Great Lakes—that is all too easily overlooked during an era when most population growth in the country is centered on either of its coasts. Specifically, it focuses on the costs and benefits of enacting a major multi-state, multi-year strategy to preserve and further improve the quality of the Great Lakes themselves as part of a larger strategy to attract and retain highly skilled individuals and related economic activity in and to the region.4

* * *

This report follows an earlier report also published by the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution, The Vital Center, which described the history and importance of the Great Lakes region to American society and to the U.S. economy.5 There were about 84 million people living in the Great Lakes states in 2000, based on data from the U.S. Census. About 24 million, or 28 percent, of these live in the Great Lakes basin.6


[4] These lakes include Lake Erie, Lake Huron, Lake Michigan, Lake Ontario, and Lake Superior.

[5] In this report, “the Great Lakes Basin” refers to the geographic areas in close proximity to the Great Lakes, including portions of the states that border on the Great Lakes— Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York. These states, plus the eastern portion of Iowa, West Virginia, Missouri, and Kentucky, were defined as the Great Lakes Region in Brookings’ earlier report on the Great Lakes. See The Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program, The Vital Center: A Federal-State Compact to Renew the Great Lakes Region (Washington, D.C.: The Brookings Institution, 2006).

[6] Derived from http://www.great- people.html.

Urban Dictionary --

1. North Coast

The areas that are near a great lake in the Midwest/NE region. It is also sometimes referred to as the Mid East of America. This area is a sub-region of the Midwest. It is a very urban area. Major Cities on the North Coast include: Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, Milwaukee, and Buffalo(All Great Cities). Cleveland is sometimes referred to as the North Coast. Specifically, the North Coast is the area in the Midwest/NE that is within 60 miles of a Great Lake(small area, but much better than the rest of the Midwest). The North Coast doesnt like to be confused with the redneck, hillbilly, tornadic Midwest.

You have the East Coast, West Coast, Gulf Coast (Southern Coast), and the North Coast. Any area that isnt in any of these regions is full of rednecks and people who gave up on their dreams. The North Coast is much different from the rest of the Midwest.

No comments: