This collection aims to capture the great energy surrounding the revival of two once-prominent fields of American history—Midwestern history and American intellectual history—and channel this energy into a deep consideration of Midwestern intellectual history. Chapters will, in various ways, yield a thorough examination of “Midwestern minds,” or examine the ways writers and intellectuals have thought about the Midwest as a region, been influenced by the region, or emerged from the region to influence national thought. Possible topics include:
The thought of particular Midwestern intellectuals, such as Frederick Jackson Turner, Constance Rourke, or Malcolm X
The significance of ideas or intellectual movements and projects, such as the development of the notion of the “common man,” the emergence of land grant colleges, agrarianism, the Midwestern Moment of literary regionalism, the Golden Age of Indiana Literature, the Chicago Renaissance, or the significance of the Great Migration
The intellectual history of particular places, such as Chicago, or the Ohio River Valley, the Driftless, the Upper Peninsula, or Ann Arbor and Columbus
The intellectual impact of the Midwest on non-Midwesterners, such as the scholars at the University of Chicago or the significance of the universities of Wisconsin and Michigan to the New Left
The editors will give particular emphasis to work that elaborates on Midwestern identity, the contours of Midwestern regionalism, the role of the Midwest in shaping an intellectual’s or an intellectual movement’s work, and the stories of intellectuals who emerged out of the Midwest.
To this end, we call for interested scholars to submit a 500-word abstract to Joe Hogan (firstname.lastname@example.org) by July 1, 2017. Please include a brief bio and full CV that lists contact information, including an email address. Authors will be notified if they are successful by September 2017. Several of the authors will be asked to present their work at a special conference focused on Midwestern intellectual history in June 2018. We will expect final versions of chapters (5,000 words, including references) by March 1, 2019. The editors of the volume will be Jon K. Lauck, Paul Murphy, Andrew Seal, Joe Hogan, and Gleaves Whitney. The volume will be published by the oldest publisher of books about Midwestern history, the Wisconsin Historical Society Press.
Scholars, commentators, and political analysts are asked to submit proposals of 500 words or less outlining a proposed chapter for a volume on the history of Midwestern politics since 1945. Given the recent election outcome, in which major Midwestern states such as Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan, and Ohio switched their support from previous election cycles, the editors believe this is an important moment for a deeper exploration of the dynamics of Midwestern politics and the political culture of the region. The editors also believe this is the key moment to bring together two emerging and critical trends in American historiography, namely the burgeoning of scholarly work on the growth of political conservatism in the United States in the late 20th century and the recent upsurge of interest in the history of the Midwest. Topics for the volume could include, but are certainly not limited to, the following: cross-regional dynamics such as the farm economy, industrial labor organization and strife, key political sub-regions (such as Dutch Michigan, Western Iowa, Appalachian Ohio, the Driftless, the Upper Peninsula, Little Egypt, Appalachian Ohio, the Iron Range, the Cutover of Wisconsin, etc), various Cold War dynamics, the politics of deindustrialization, the tendency or failure of once strongly-Republican Midwestern states to “re-align” or become Democratic in the decades after the New Deal, the decline of major urban centers such as Detroit, urban versus out-state conflicts (Chicago, Detroit, and Minneapolis, for examples, versus the more rural parts of Illinois, Michigan, and Minnesota), varying and evolving forms of conservative or economic populism, the relationship between the industrial economy and the farm economy, the working class culture of cities such as Youngstown, the history of the Midwest as a political swing region, the presence and political impact of African-Americans in Midwestern states, the impact of conservative activism in Midwestern states, profiles of prominent Midwestern politicians which reveal important components of Midwestern political culture, the political culture of the Midwest as expressed in literature, music, etc, the rise of the Christian right, the activities of the Left in the Midwest (Madison, Ann Arbor, etc), white flight from urban areas and the subsequent impact on regional politics, immigration from Asia, Latin America, and Africa and its impact on politics, the evolution of religion/decline of mainline churches/rise of more conservative churches, changing forms of media and the lessening of rural isolation, the impacts of wars such as Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq/Afghanistan on politics, responses in the Midwest to social changes of the 1960s/70s, the impact of Reaganism in the Midwest, various aspects of the culture wars in the Midwest, the influence of the military or military spending on local and state politics, etc. Jon Lauck of the University of South Dakota and Catherine McNicol Stock of Connecticut College at will serve as volume editors. All proposals should be sent to Jon Lauck (email@example.com( and to Catherine McNicol Stock (firstname.lastname@example.org) by September 1, 2017 and include a vitae pasted at the end of the proposal (please include the proposal and vitae in one document). If a proposal is accepted, the final version of an author’s chapter will be due on August 1, 2018. The University Press of Kansas has expressed preliminary interest in the volume. Publication is expected, but not guaranteed, during the summer of election year 2020.