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Not flyover country: Importance of Midwest highlighted at GVSU conference

  • A flyer for the event, which shows the title and is laid over an image of a plane flying over an agricultural area.

Posted on May 20, 2019

Grand Valley State University's Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies will host nearly 200 experts from three countries for the fifth annual Midwestern History Conference, a gathering dedicated to sparking and sustaining a revival of Midwestern studies. 

More than 50 other panel discussions will focus on a broad range of topics including AIDS and activism, environmental history, the rise and fall of the Ku Klux Klan in the Midwest, women in the Midwestern workforce and many, many more. 

The two-day event, which will highlight a wide variety of original research, strives to develop a meaningful discussion about the often-misunderstood region which now plays a pivotal role in the nation's politics.

Several keynote addresses will discuss the history of the so-called "flyover states" and their importance to the country and the world.

A full listing of panel discussion topics can be found at the event website,

Finding the Lost Region V: Fifth Annual Midwestern History Conference

May 30-31, 2019

Charles W. Loosemore Auditorium, Richard M. DeVos Center

401 Fulton St. W., Grand Rapids, MI 49504

The event is free and open to the public, but registration is requested at

Keynote speakers include:

     - Kristin Hoganson, the Stanley S. Stroup Professor of United States History at the University of Illinois, who recently published The Heartland: An American History, with Penguin Random House.

     - David Levering Lewis, the Julius Silver University Professor and Professor of History Emeritus at New York University and two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Biography for his work on W.E.B. DuBois. Lewis has written eight books and edited two others, including his most recent book, The Improbable Wendell Willkie: The Businessman Who Saved the Republican Party and His Country, and Conceived a New World Order. Lewis was also the recipient of the 1994 Bancroft Prize, awarded annually by Columbia University to authors of books about diplomacy or the history of the Americas.

     - Anna-Lisa Cox, an award-winning historian and a fellow at Harvard University's Hutchins Center for African and African American Research. She also helped create two historical exhibits based on her research at the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture. She lives in Saugatuck, Michigan.

     - James H. Madison, the Thomas and Kathryn Miller Professor of History Emeritus at Indiana University-Bloomington who is also a noted expert in Indiana history. Madison also serves on the board of the Indiana Humanities and the Indiana Historical Society.

     - Jon Lauck, the founding president of the Midwestern History Association and an adjunct professor of history at the University of South Dakota. He is the author of several books, including The Lost Region: Toward a Revival of Midwestern History and From Warm Center to Ragged Edge: The Erosion of Midwestern Literary and Historical Regionalism.

The conference is presented in partnership with the Midwestern History Association. Learn more at

For more information, visit