News and Events Archive
The Midwest: America’s Most Common Ground, April 30-May 1(2015-02-09)
Grand Valley State University
The Hauenstein Center
What can the culture and history of the Midwest tell us about the development of democracy, the expansion of industry, and the flourishing of pluralism in America?
In comparison to such regions as the South, the far West, and New England, the Midwest and its culture—the history of its peoples and places; its literature, music, and art; the complexity and richness of its landscapes—has sadly been neglected. And this neglect is both scholarly and popular: historians as well as literary and art critics tend not to examine the Midwest seriously in their academic work, while the myth of the Midwest has not, in the popular imagination, ascended to the level of the proud, literary South; the cultured, democratic Northeast; or the hip, innovative West Coast.
Nevertheless, the Midwest has a history and culture well worth exploring, analyzing, and bragging about. The purpose of our conference, titled “The Midwest: America’s Most Common Ground,” is to excite interest in the Midwest as a region with its own rich, nuanced, and varied history and culture. Our conference will feature keynote addresses and panel discussions on the history, literature, and art of the Midwest, Midwestern leadership and statesmanship, and the budding field of Midwestern Studies. We are inviting numerous scholars—historians, literary critics, geographers—to present on their work on Midwestern life and culture. With this summit we hope to start a conversation on the Midwest that engages the scholarly and popular imagination; most importantly, we hope to start a conversation that lasts.