Finding the Lost Region 2016: Second Midwestern History Conference

Finding the Lost Region 2016: Second Midwestern History Conference

June 1, 2016


In spring 2015, the Hauenstein Center, in collaboration with the Midwestern History Association, hosted a Common Ground Summit on the history, culture, and art of the American Midwest. Our many speakers asked how the renewed study of the Midwest – a field long neglected by scholars and critics – might shed new light on the development of democracy, the expansion of industry, and the flourishing of pluralism in America.

On June 1, 2016, the Hauenstein Center and Midwestern History Association hosted a continuation of that summit. Committed to the discussion of the Midwest as “America’s Most Common Ground,” our conference featured historians, literary scholars, and cultural critics who are dedicated to rebuilding the field of Midwestern studies. A significant theme of our conversations was the synergy between the revival of Midwestern history and intellectual history in academic discourse. Ultimately, our conference advocated for greater attention to Midwestern history among professional historians, contributed to rebuilding the infrastructure necessary for the study of the American Midwest, and promoted greater academic discourse relating to Midwestern history.

Keynote speakers and discussants included Andrew Seal (Yale University), John Wunder (University of Nebraska-Lincoln), Kathy Borkowski (Wisconsin Historical Society Press), Kelly D. Mezurek (Walsh University), John E. Miller (South Dakota State University), and Jon Lauck (Midwestern History Association).

Panels covered topics as varied as the political history of the 18th century Midwest to the contemporary literature of the Rust Belt. Speakers came from universities across the Midwest and nation.


“Thank you very much for a first rate conference on June 1st. It was of very high calibre….[The panel on the Midwest and the civil war was] truly outstanding, one of the best panels I have heard in attending conferences in the past 45 years.”
~James E. Davis on “Finding the Lost Region 2016: Second Midwestern History Conference”
Professor Emeritus at Illinois College

Page last modified March 30, 2023