While the last two presidential elections have put the Midwest in the spotlight, the region and its complexity still are often misunderstood.
The Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies aims to generate a fuller understanding of the region through its annual Midwest History Conference. After a one-year hiatus due to the pandemic, this year's virtual conference on May 26-27 focuses on the theme of "The Midwest at the Intersection of Past and Present."
"Through both the 2016 and 2020 elections, the Midwest played a crucial role," said Jakob Bigard, who is organizing the conference for the Hauenstein Center. "As the region continues to diversify socially, culturally, economically and politically, we must renew our assumptions about the Midwest."
The conference, which is being done in collaboration with Midwestern History Association, the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation and the Gerald R. Ford Library and Museum, will feature scholars and cultural commentators who are immersed in studies of the Midwest.
Both days of the conference will include panel discussions, roundtables and breakout sessions on a wide range of topics, from foodways in the Midwest to the many different cultural experiences for those living in the region.
Covering the Midwest's diversity is a central component of the conference because scholars who study Midwestern history have identified that importance, said Sara Egge, president of the Midwestern History Association.