CFP: Diversity in Midwestern Studies
"The times they are a-changing," but we are still quoting an old white male to describe the situation. The Midwest has long been thought of as pretty monolithic: all white, all farms, all "average," all cold, and flat. The borders of other US regions seem to be easier to define, but the Midwest has often been white-washed by too-easy definitions of who lives there and what life is like.
We hope with this roundtable to explore diversity in Midwestern Studies. Our notion of diversity includes race, gender, age, class, and sees identities as inherently fluid—identities of individuals, institutions, cities, states, regions. The interdisciplinary endeavor is open to historicizations of diversity in the Midwest, contemporary shifts in immigration, police conflicts across the region, changing economic circumstances. We invite studies of diversity, as well as reactions to it and tensions within it. How does diversity sit in the Midwest's many progressive political environments that perhaps overarch more conservative personal milieus?
At the same time, we inquire into diversity in the field of Midwestern Studies itself. As the field is still in early days, we ask who comes to it and why, and can we in this early state impact who is a part of the field of Midwestern Studies? H-Midwest began with a strong roundtable discussion of Midwestern Studies (https://networks.h-net.org/node/85290/pages/98030/h-midwest-roundtable-1...), but as has been pointed out, the discussants were all white and male (https://twitter.com/spinsterofutica/status/682047523305992192). Can we diversify the field? Would doing so at this seminal moment impact the questions and epistemologies the field develops? Or is the field simply part of a fairly white male academic environment, no more likely to grow in diversity than the Humanities and Social Sciences themselves? And does it matter? Might the new and burgeoning Midwest Studies attract a more diverse group of scholars, and if it doesn't, can the field ever explore anything new or churn up any new results?
It's a multi-pronged call. Don't feel compelled to address it all. If need be, we will divide responses into more than one roundtable. We look for responses from 200 to 2000 words and would love to hear from you by April 30. Please send responses and queries to firstname.lastname@example.org.