6/1-Finding the Lost Region II: Second Midwestern History Conference

Midwestern History Conference
June 1, 2016
Richard M. DeVos Center
401 Fulton St. W.
Grand Rapids, MI

Finding the Lost Region II: Second Midwestern History Conference

In spring 2015, the Hauenstein Center, in collaboration with the Midwestern History Association, hosted a Common Ground Summit on the history, culture, and art of the American Midwest. Our many speakers asked how the renewed study of the Midwest – a field long neglected by scholars and critics – might shed new light on the development of democracy, the expansion of industry, and the flourishing of pluralism in America.

On June 1, 2016, the Hauenstein Center and Midwestern History Association will host a continuation of that summit. Committed to the discussion of the Midwest as America’s “Most Common Ground,” our conference will feature historians, literary scholars, and cultural critics who are dedicated to rebuilding the field of Midwestern studies. A significant theme of our conversations will be the synergy between the revival of Midwestern history and intellectual history in academic discourse. Ultimately, our conference will advocate for greater attention to Midwestern history among professional historians, contribute to rebuilding the infrastructure necessary for the study of the American Midwest, and promote greater academic discourse relating to Midwestern history.

Keynote speakers and discussants will include Andrew Seal (Yale University), John Wunder (University of Nebraska-Lincoln), Kathy Borkowski (Wisconsin Historical Society Press), Kelly Mezurek (Walsh University), John Miller (South Dakota State University), and Jon Lauck (Midwestern History Association).
Panels will cover topics as varied as the political history of the 18th century Midwest to the contemporary literature of the Rust Belt. Speakers will come from universities across the Midwest and nation.

This event is free and open to the public.




9 AM – 10 AM

Plenary: Andrew Seal: ”The Regrowth of American Thought: Midwestern and Intellectual Histories after the Age of Fracture.”

10:15 – 11:45 AM: First Panel Session

Panel 1: American Indians and Westward Expansion

“The Meeker Massacre,” John Buchkoski, University of Oklahoma

“Kansas as a Battleground of Historical Interpretation,” Courtney Buchowski, University of Oklahoma

“Simon Pokagon, Chicago History, and the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893,” Lisa Cushing-Davis, Loyola University Chicago

“Decolonizing Landscape, Sacralizing Trauma, and Commemorations of the U.S. – Dakota War Hangings,” Wayne Ratzlaff, Waubonsee Community College

Panel 2: Defining the Midwest: Nostalgia, “Midwestern Values,” and Ethnoreligious Identity

“Selling Modern Gadgets with Nostalgia: Creating Midwestern Consumers at the 1939 New York World’s Fair,” Patricia Oman, Hastings College

“Midwestern Stereotypes: Nostalgia? or Another Way of Looking at Things?” John E. Miller, South Dakota State University

“Faithful Narratives: Dutch-American Identity in the Midwest After World War II,” David Zwart, Grand Valley State University

“‘Where People and Things Wear Out’: Masculinity, Rural Time, and the Midwestern Farm Novel,” Andy Oler, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

Panel 3: Politics and Pluralism in the Midwest

“A Triumph of Conservatism: Lincoln, Lane, and the Election of 1860 in Indiana,” Gregory Peek, Pennsylvania State University

“Was Midwestern Progressivism Different? Merlin Hull and the Wisconsin Progressive Tradition,” William Kostlevy, Brethren Historical Library and Archives

“Unlike Partners: James Brown, Richard Lugar, and Republicanism in the Midwest,” Edward Frantz, University of Indianapolis

“The Midwest as Seedbed of Cultural Pluralism: Jane Addams, Horace Kallen, and the Urban and Rural Sources of an Idea, 1900-1920,” Michael C. Steiner, California State University, Fullerton

Panel 4: The Midwest in the Long 19th Century

“James Smith’s Account and the Significance of the Captivity Narrative,” William Heath, Mt. St. Mary’s University

“Unchristian Politics: The Anti-Masonic Movement and the Greenbacks, 1868-1888,” Mike Davis, Northwest Florida State College

“Dakotas, ABCFM Missionaries, and Conflicting uses of Literacy, 1863-1866,” Linda Clemmons, Illinois State University

“The Distribution and Origins of African Americans in the Old Northwest, 1800-1850,” Gregory S. Rose, The Ohio State University at Marion

12 – 1:45 PM

Luncheon Plenary: John Wunder: “Mapping Out Midwestern Studies.”

2 – 3:30 PM: Second Panel Session

Panel 5: The Political (and Radical) Midwest

“Tammany Farmer: The Al Smith Presidential Campaign and Midwestern Politics of the 1920s,” Jason K. Duncan, Aquinas College

“Midwestern State Claims to the Great Lakes,” Christopher J. Breay, Aquinas College and McShane & Bowie, P.L.C.

“Beyond Utopia: The American Socialists and the Reimagining of the Public Sphere,” Wesley R. Bishop, Purdue University

“A Frenchwoman in the City: Jenny P. d’Héricourt in Chicago, 1863-1873,”
Michelle M. Campbell, Purdue University

Panel 6: Toward an Intellectual History of the Midwest

“Joseph Epstein: Chicago Intellectual,” James Seaton, Michigan State University

“The Hope of the Founders: The Upper Midwest as the Second Promised Land,” Gleaves Whitney, Grand Valley State University

“What is ‘Middlewestishness’? The Evolution of Midwestern Literary Studies” Sara Kosiba, Associate Professor at Troy University

“John Barlow Martin and the Path of a Midwestern Public Intellectual” Ray E. Boomhower Interim Senior Director, Indiana Historical Society Press

“Reading the Rust Belt: 1991-2016,” Danielle Cope, Grand Valley State University

Panel 7: Mapping the Midwest: Lakes, Rivers, and Wilderness

“The Place of St. Louis in the Geography of the Historical Imagination,” Thomas Kivi, St. Louis University

“Wisconsin as Boat-Building Center,” Andreas Jordahl Rhude, Antique & Classic Boat Society

“‘A Fully Accredited Ocean’: Including the Great Lakes in Midwestern History,” Matthew L. Daley, Grand Valley State University

“Indiana’s Wilderness Fight, 1973-1983,” Kevin McKelvey, University of Indianapolis

Panel 8: Going Glocal: Shifting Master Narratives Through Grand Rapids Women’s History

“Mining the Mother Lode: WWI Women’s Registration Cards and the Council of National Defense,” Anita Anthony-VanOrsdal, Michigan State University

“Creating a Resource: A Unique Record of Women’s Elective History,” Deirdre Toeller-Novak, Greater Grand Rapids Women’s History Council

“Fighting Faulty Assumptions about 1890s Women’s Groups, Black and White,” Jo Ellyn Clarey, Greater Grand Rapids Women’s History Council

3:45 – 5:15 PM: Third Panel Session

Panel 9: The Midwest and the Civil War

“‘The Only Bridge that Spans the Chasm Dividing Us from Our Homes’: Communicability, Connectivity, and the Experience of Separation during the Civil War,” L. Bao Bui, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

“The Crusade of Black Midwesterners for Citizenship Rights,”Leonne M. Hudson, Kent State University

“‘I Have Seen More since I Left Home than I Ever Supposed There was in the World’: Black Soldiers, Midwestern Community Correspondence, and the Civil War,” Kelly D. Mezurek, Walsh University

“The Memoirs of Union soldiers from Midwestern States as Travel Literature,” James Davis, Illinois College

Panel 10: Narratives of Midwestern Women: 1930 – 1980

“History of the Humble: The Lived Experience of Midwestern Women, 1930-1980,” Alexa Giebink, Gustavus Adolphus College

“‘If the situation seemed insurmountable, I always wanted to be there’: Virginia Coffey, A Midwest Human Relations Pioneer,” Phillip J. Obermiller and Thomas E. Wagner, University of Cincinnati

Panel 11: Civic Identity in the Midwest

“A ‘Self-Made’ Town: Semi-Annual Furniture Expositions and the Construction of Civic Identity in Grand Rapids, 1878-1965,” Scott Richard St. Louis

“Anti-Semitism in the Ozarks: How Glenn Frazier Miller’s Murders Are Reflected in Local Communities,” Mara W. Cohen Ioannides, Missouri State University

“Communists, Caltrops, and Collusion: The Clinton Corn Strike (1979-1980) Oral History Project,” Brad Wiles, Clinton Public Library

“The Syrians of Sioux Falls, Circa 1927,” Stephen R. Cusulos

Panel 12: What’s the Midwest Got to Do With It? Pecans, Punk Rock, and Perestroika

“Reclaiming the Pecan’s Roots,” Catherine Lambrecht, Greater Midwest Foodways Alliance and Highland Park Historical Society

“‘Don’t Need No Pretty Face’: The Forgotten Midwestern Origins of the Punk Rock Movement,” Rachael Price, University of Arkansas

“Mikhail Gorbachev’s Saint Paul Summit and the Construction of a New Midwestern Identity,” Cory Haala, Marquette University

5:30 – 7 PM


7 – 8 PM

Plenary Panel: The Future of Midwestern History

Discussants: John Wunder (University of Nebraska-Lincoln), Kathy Borkowski (Wisconsin Historical Society Press), Kelly Mezurek (Walsh University), and John Miller (South Dakota State University).

Chair: Jon Lauck (Midwestern History Association).

5/19-5/20-The Hidden Wounds of War

The Hidden Wounds of War
Richard M. DeVos Center, Charles W. Loosemore Auditorium
Thursday, May 19, 2016 and Friday, May 20, 2016

The Hauenstein Center is proud to be a continuing sponsor, along with the Michigan Military PTSD Task Force, RiverView Psychological Services P.S., the West Michigan Veterans Coalition, Grand Valley State Universtiy, Forest View Hospital, and the American Legion, for the conference series “The Hidden Wounds of War.” See below for more information and registration:

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