Midwest History Association offers prizes, seeks proposals

The Midwest History Association has announced three prizes for writing. It’s also seeking chapter proposals for two books on the Midwest as well as funding for a symposium on African-Americans in the 19th-century West. Association President Jon Lauck explained the details in an email, which we’ve reproduced here:

Dear Friends of Midwestern History –

I hope you’re all staying cool this summer in your favorite library or archive.  I wanted to pass along several bits of news from the Midwestern History Association and some important deadlines.

First, be sure to note that the deadline for the MHA’s annual academic article prize for best article on Midwestern history (the Dorothy Schwieder Prize) is midnight on July 15 (today).  All the details of the prize are pasted below.

Second, in order to advance our outreach goals and to reward work on the history of the Midwest, the MHA has voted to create two new prizes: the Alice Smith Prize for Midwestern Public History Projects and the Hamlin Garland Prize for Popular History Writing about the Midwest.  The public history prize committee will be chaired by Professor Aaron Shapiro of UNC-Charlotte. Aaron is a native Midwesterner and he won the 2014 Gjerde Prize for best book on Midwestern history for his book entitled The Lure of the North Woods(University of Minnesota Press) on the development of tourism in northern Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota.  The deadline for the Smith Prize for best Midwestern history project during 2014 is September 15, 2015.  The call-for-nominations for the Smith Prize is pasted below.

The Garland Prize is named for Hamlin Garland, who hailed from Wisconsin, Iowa, and South Dakota and who sought to promote writing about the Midwest.  Garland’s book Daughter of the Middle Border won the Pulitzer Prize in 1922. The Garland Prize committee will be chaired by Kristin Mapel Bloomberg, Hamline University Endowed Chair in the Humanities and Professor of Women’s Studies at Hamline University in St. Paul. The call-for-nominations for the Garland Prize is pasted below. All of the details about the MHA’s other prizes can be found here: www.midwesternhistory.com

Third, the MHA will be a sponsor of the symposium “African Americans in the Nineteenth-Century West” at St. Louis University on May 20-22, 2016.  In this case, “the West” is construed broadly to include the Midwest.  See below for more details about this plans for this conference.

Fourth, in 2018/19 the Newberry Library will be focusing their scholarly and public programs on the question “What is the Midwest?”  This is a very exciting venture that will be very important to the MHA.  Please stay tuned for details.

Fifth, a new book is being planned on Midwestern regionalism and Midwestern regionalist writers and historians etc and a call-for-chapters has gone out.  See below for all of the details.  Note that the deadline is fast approaching: August 1, 2015.

Sixth, the MHA will be having its next meeting in 2016 as part of the Western History Association meeting in St. Paul.  Please let me know if you’re interested in serving on a panel that emphasizes Midwestern history as we have been welcomed by the WHA to submit panel proposals.  The deadline is September 1, 2015.

Seventh, the MHA is now in negotiations with the Agricultural History Society to have a combined meeting with them in 2017.  We will keep you apprised of developments on this front.

Eighth, please note that this fall the Center for Western Studies at Augustana College will host a symposium on the theme of “Where Does the Midwest End and the Great Plains Begin?”  The Center has also issued a call-for-chapters for a book by the same name.  If you are interested in submitting a proposal, see the CFP below.

Ninth, we’re sorry to announce the resignation of board member Melissa Marsh, who is increasingly busy researching and writing books and thus has stepped down.  Melissa’s replacement will be announced soon.

Tenth, we want to extend another welcome to the MHA’s new ex-officio board members: Sara Kosiba (representing the Society for the Study of Midwestern Literature); Anne Mosher (representing geography); and Virgil Dean (representing the public history/Midwestern journal world).  Please recall that at the MHA’s spring meetings we discussed methods of reaching out to other like-minded organizations and doing more coalition-building.  Our new ex-officio members are a product of that effort.

Eleventh, note that the spring 2016 meeting of the Mid-American American Studies Association has been scheduled.  The theme is “Battleground Midwest: Defining Who and What Matters in the U.S. and Beyond” and it will be held at the University of Kansas in March.

Twelfth (we’re almost done, trust me), on the media front, the MHA continues to prosper.  The videos of all of the lectures at the “Finding the Lost Region” Midwestern history conference held at Grand Valley State University in April 2015 are now all available on Youtube (just search “Hauenstein Center Midwest” and you should find the videos).  The MHA also now has 841 friends on Facebook, 845 Twitter followers, and 861 people on the MHA email list and they all continue to grow (note that the Western History Association, by way of comparison, has about a thousand members, so we’re in good company). We have some additional outreach efforts in the works too.

Lastly, given all the growth and success of the MHA in past year, we feel it is a good time to ask for your financial support.  Treasurer Bob Morrissey reports that the MHA has $1,500 in the bank at present and no outstanding obligations, but we have a very busy time ahead of us and could use your support to bolster our operations, which are run completely on a volunteer basis.  If you feel you could share some of your resources, please send a check to Professor Robert Morrissey, Treasurer—Midwestern History Association, Department of History, University of Illinois-Urbana, 309 Gregory Hall, 810 S. Wright Street, M/C 466, Urbana, IL 61801.

Thanks again for all of your support of the MHA.  Your suggestions for additional MHA projects and outreach are always welcome.  Jon Lauck

Dorothy Schwieder Prize

The Midwestern History Association invites nominations for the Dorothy Schwieder Prize for the best article in midwestern history published in the past calendar year, that is, 2014. The winner will be announced in fall 2015.

All articles on midwestern history that were published in peer-reviewed journals dated 2014 are eligible for the prize. For this purpose, “the Midwest” includes the twelve states of the region as defined by the US Census: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

Please submit articles for consideration to Catherine Cocks, Chair, Schwieder Prize Committee, cath-campbell@uiowa.edu. Nominations should include author, title, and the title, volume, and issue number of the journal, along with a pdf of the published article, or, in the case of digital-only publications, a url. Please do not send print submissions.

Deadline for submissions: 15 July 2015

Alice Smith Prize

The Midwestern History Association invites nominations for the Alice Smith Prize in Public History. Named after the director of research at the Wisconsin Historical Society from 1947 to 1965 who authored six books and numerous articles on the state’s history, the prize honors a public history project completed in the previous calendar year (2014) that contributes to broader public reflection and appreciation of the region’s past. For purposes of the award, “the Midwest” includes the twelve states of the region as defined by the US Census: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

Projects by individuals, groups, community organizations, businesses, or other organizations or work done in support of such projects may be nominated. Projects may include, but are not limited to the following areas: Media, Exhibits, Public Programs or Written Works (such as research reports, brochures, working papers, or historical fiction) that broaden public history understanding. Non-fiction books and journal articles are not eligible for this award.

Nominations must include name and contact information of project participants along with appropriate materials documenting the project. For consideration, please submit nomination and materials to Aaron Shapiro, Chair, Smith Prize Committee at ashapi10@uncc.edu or via mail at Department of History, UNC Charlotte, 9201 University City Blvd., Charlotte, NC 28223.
Deadline for submissions: 15 September 2015

Garland Prize

The Midwestern History Association invites nominations for the Hamlin Garland Prize in Popular History. The prize is named after theMidwestern writer Hamlin Garland, a product of Wisconsin, Iowa, and South Dakota who sought to promote writing about his home region and published widely in popular outlets.  His many books include Daughter of the Middle Border, which won the Pultizer Prize in 1922. The Garland Prize honors a work of popular history about the Midwest published in the previous calendar year (2014) that contributes to broader public reflection and appreciation of the region’s past. For purposes of the award, “the Midwest” includes the twelve states of the region as defined by the US Census: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. Works of popular history eligible for the prize may include, but are not limited to, articles in popular history magazines and journals, feature stories in magazines and newspapers, and books written for a broad public audience.

Nominations must include the name and contact information of the nominated work’s author and three copies of the work nominated. For consideration, please submit nomination and accompanying materials to Professor Kristin Mapel Bloomberg, Chair, Garland Prize Committee at kbloomberg@hamline.edu or via mail at Manor Hall 33B, PO Box 158, 1536 Hewitt Avenue, St. Paul, Minnesota, 55104.

Deadline for submissions: 1 October 2015

African American History Symposium

We are asking for funding for a symposium, titled African Americans in the Nineteenth-Century West, to be held at Saint Louis University, May 20-22, 2016. We are inviting scholars who focus on the western African American experience in the long nineteenth century. Our list of participants includes senior scholars, junior colleagues, and public historians. Quintard Taylor, Jr., Scott and Dorothy Bullitt Professor of American History at the University of Washington, will present the keynote address. Dr. Taylor is one of the pioneers of African American western history. Lynne Jackson, a local activist and also a direct descendant of Dred Scott, will speak at the end of the conference. The principal purpose of the symposium, however, is twofold: first, to present exciting new research in the emerging field of African American history in the western United States, and second, to strengthen creative and mutually beneficial connections between Saint Louis University and the wider community, particularly with St. Louis City teachers.

At the 2015 Organization of American Historians annual meeting held in St. Louis, a substantial, provocative, and fruitful discussion arose about the present-day place of race in St. Louis and its historical antecedents. Yet historians and educators often overlook the field of nineteenth-century black western and Midwestern history, and pay much more attention to the nineteenth-century South and the twentieth century West and Midwest. Nevertheless, research into the African-American experience in the West has become a growing field that helps us better understand African American history as a whole. The time has come to foreground this exciting new work in a scholarly conference solely dedicated to this topic. It is also our hope that the symposium will help engage with some of the issues surrounding race and power that are increasingly relevant in our region, particularly with the deaths of Michael Brown and VonDerrit Myers, Jr., in the St. Louis area and Tamir Rice in Cleveland. While the core theme of the research papers presented at the symposium will focus on the nineteenth century, we believe that an engagement with the African American experience in the West will bring light and understanding to the issues of racial divisions and activism in the western United States.

In order to support that effort, we will invite members of the wider St. Louis community to the keynote address. The audience will include, in addition to faculty and students from St. Louis area universities, senior citizens, students, teachers, local clergy – in short, anyone interested in the lives and experiences of African Americans in the nineteenth-century West. The community will be invited to the keynote address and to Lynne Jackson’s presentation. Teachers will be encouraged to participate in all aspects of the symposium, and will participate in a special workshop designed to link the symposium presentations to their pedagogical work.

During this workshop, teachers will also analyze primary source documents submitted by conference participants, create lesson plans, and discuss ways of bringing material from the symposium into the classroom. Silvana Siddali, one of the conference organizers, has run many such workshops in recent years, both in St. Louis City and County schools, and will work with local educators and administrators to organize and run the workshop.

There are several other important benefits to consider. First, service to the community is a significant aspect of Saint Louis University’s Jesuit mission. Our symposium will build on the university-wide discussions on race and inclusion, beginning with the diversity speakers series earlier this year, which included the “Race and Expression” symposium held in April and hosted by the Walter J. Ong, S. J. Center.

Second, given SLU’s Catholic worldview, as well as the religious focus of Trinity Christian College, the organizers consider it of vital importance to include religious history as part of the symposium. Third, our symposium can play a significant role in attracting students, both undergrad and graduate, to a university that is prioritizing the area of African American history. Fourth, this symposium represents a collaboration between a Catholic university, a small Christian liberal arts college, several large secular universities, and a Historically Black State University. And finally, our symposium will reach out to St. Louis City teachers, to encourage them to participate in and contribute to a conversation that brings together a community of scholars, educators, and learners.

Call for Chapter Proposals:
The Midwestern Moment

Hastings College Press welcomes proposals for chapters for an edited volume focused on Midwestern regionalism during the first half of the twentieth century. The volume is tentatively entitled “The Midwestern Moment: Essays in Early-Twentieth Century Midwestern Regionalism.” Midwestern regionalism includes writers, artists, publishers, intellectuals, architects, journalists, filmmakers, magazines, journals, institutions, films, etc. Subjects may include but are not limited to

  • Midwestern regionalism as a movement to highlight work that was produced in the Midwest and focused on the Midwest as a counter to the cultural dominance of the coasts, especially Boston and New York City
  • Individuals or institutions that purposely sought to encourage or counter the theory that Midwestern intellectuals and writers “revolted” from their Midwestern villages
  • Representations of the Midwest in popular culture or by non-Midwesterners
  • Rejection or confirmation of the Midwest as the agricultural Heartland
  • Controversies about the definition or geographical boundaries of the Midwest
  • Midwestern ecologies

Proposals should be roughly 300 words, briefly explain the significance of the subject chosen and sources available, and be sent to Patricia Oman at hcpress@hastings.edu. The editor of the volume will be Jon K. Lauck. All proposals are due by August 1, 2015. If a proposal is accepted, the resulting chapter, not exceeding 6,000 words (including notes), shall be due June 1, 2016.


Call for Chapter Proposals:
Midwest/Great Plains Debate

Proposals Sought for New Book on Midwest/Great Plains Debate

The Center for Western Studies seeks chapter proposals for “In Search of the Interior Borderlands: Where Does the Midwest End and the Great Plains Begin?,” an edited collection focused on exploring the dividing line, or imagined dividing line, between two of the nation’s understudied regions: the American Midwest and the Great Plains.

This interior border has yet to become a significant point of discussion in the broader movement to analyze the borderlands of the United States and this volume is designed to advance the discussion in this direction.

Proposals should explain the author’s general approach to the topic and include the sources to be consulted as well as the author’s curriculum vitae. Topics to be explored include, but are by no means limited to, historical understandings of the Midwest/Great Plains dividing line; the geographical and topographical approaches to designating a dividing line; literary or other cultural understandings of a dividing line; analyses of the regionalist thought and practices which have contributed to belief in a dividing line; agricultural practices which help explain the dividing line; environmental factors such as rainfall, glaciation, river development, and grasses which help to delineate a dividing line; historic and more recent discussions of the taxonomy of American regions, especially the real and imagined boundaries between the Midwest, the Great Plains, and the West; the understandings of Native Americans, American settlers, immigrants, political leaders, environmentalists, geographers, political scientists, and others which help explain the dividing line.

A preliminary one-day symposium designed to promote discussion of these matters will be held at the Center for Western Studies at Augustana College on November 7, 2015. This symposium will be open to the public.

Chapter proposals will be due November 20, 2015.  If a proposal is accepted, the author’s chapter will be dueOctober 21, 2016. Final chapters should be approximately 5,000 words, including notes, and in Chicago style. All proposals should be sent to Harry Thompson, Executive Director of the Center for Western Studies.

The editor of the collection will be Jon K. Lauck, President of the Midwestern History Association. The edited collection will be published by the Center for Western Studies.

If you are interested in participating in the symposium, contact Office Coordinator Erin Castle at the Center for Western Studies, Augustana College, 2001 S Summit Ave, Sioux Falls, SD 57197 (605.274.4007) before September 1, 2015.