We are attempting to revive H-Midwest and are kicking things off with some information about some important events in the region, some of which are taking place this weekend.
This weekend the Black Life in the Ohio Valley Conference (Sept. 9-10, 2022) continues at Ohio University in Athens. See all the details here: https://www.ohio.edu/cas/central-region-humanities-center/black-life-ohio-valley#agenda
Kate Masur of Northwestern University passes along an exciting development from Illinois. The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Library has digitized the available run of the Western Citizen (1842-1853), and it is now part of the Illinois Digital Newspaper Collections. As many of you know, this paper was edited by Zebina Eastman and based in Chicago. It was the organ of the Illinois Liberty Party and later the Free Democrats, and it tried to cover events of interest throughout the state and in southern Wisconsin. The paper is particularly valuable for its unparalleled coverage of the lives and activities of African Americans in Illinois in this period, including church-based activities, schools, celebrations, and organizing for racial justice.
Professor Masur also passes along news of a web “exhibit” she produced with a team at Northwestern over the last few years on early Black life and activism in Illinois. It’s called Black Organizing in Pre-Civil War Illinois: Creating Community, Demanding Justice, and it’s part of the larger Colored Conventions Project, which is based at Penn State. The exhibit provides a history of early African American community building and activism in Illinois, focusing on the 1840s and 1850s. It includes individual profiles of 25 Black men and women who were involved in church life, the Underground Railroad, education, and activism in the state. We also tell the story of the first statewide Black political convention, which was held in Chicago in early October 1853.
Note that the Northern Great Plains History Conference will be held in Fargo from September 21-24. All the details are here: https://www.ngphconference.org/
The Twenty-Fourth Annual Conference on Illinois History will be held October 6-7 in Springfield, Illinois at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. All the details are here: https://presidentlincoln.illinois.gov/learn/library-research/research-divisions/conference-on-illinois-history/
The Cleveland Review of Books is looking for writers:
Call for Pitches
The Cleveland Review of Books invites pitches and submissions of critical writing that prioritizes formal vision and generous engagement with its subject matter. We look for writing with a committed sense of style and perspective. We call for analysis that takes calculated risks and rewards attention. We seek authors who challenge our readers to relate themselves more completely to their worlds. Beyond genre, we value critical writing in any shape that fits one or more of the categories below. We also encourage pitches that purposefully push at their boundaries.
The writing we publish frequently takes the form of a review. It is our conviction that the very best “reviews” are critical-creative essays initiated by one or more texts operating in a recognizable critical mode. They may also be collaborations, letters, conversations, disruptions, or other inventions. Furthermore, a “text” can be many things. Our aspiration is to publish writing that examines ideas, techniques, and contexts that extend beyond any singular work or moment, offering the aforementioned qualities of style and analysis regardless of the timeliness of its concerns or the recognizability of its form. To acquaint yourself with the quality and styles we’re interested in, we recommend reading what’s on our site before pitching.
To submit, please see our guidelines. We welcome pitches on:
Fiction. Poetry. Nonfiction. “Creative” nonfiction. Hybrid, multi-genre, interdisciplinary, genreless writing and reading. Collections. Selections. Works in translation. Graphic texts. Art books. Photo books. Zines. Scenes. Small and independent presses. Community projects. New releases. Forgotten voices. Reissued classics. Medium-term bangers. Real stinkers. Physical, digital, ephemeral.
Places. Rural. Urban. Liminal. Towns. Cities. Lakes. Factories. Strip malls. Plains and prairies. The Rust Belt. Industrial decline, postindustrial perseverance. The Suburbs: how they were made, and for whom. People. Your people. Race, its histories. Human detail. Victories. Sorrows. Failures and why they matter. Ideas from and images of the Midwest. Main Street. Small town. Everytown. Common man. Average American. Communities. White. Black. Native. Immigrant. Violence. How to reckon with it. The past. How to remember it. The future. How to make it.
Culture & Politics
Ecocriticism. Rust Belt Blues™. Radical ruminations, appropriately formatted. 21st century party machines. The rural left. The urban right. Labor. Its resurgence. Its future. Amazonification. Agglomeration. Accelerationism. Deceleration. Slow Cities. Farm-to-table. Quiet lives, and how (not) to live them.
Modernism. Postmodernism. The built environment. Gallery openings. Painting. Design. Film. Documentary. Typography. Cartography. Photography. Placemaking. That mural you love.
As a practice. The state of literary-cultural production. Issues related to past and present publishing trends and methods. What editing is and isn’t. The poetics of the press. Sending pitches. Receiving rejections. Publishing as labor. IP. Small press. Journals. Awards. Submittable. The MFA. The CIA. Views from inside and out.
Contemporary and ancient. Verse and prose. Aesthetic and ontological theories of reading and writing. (Mis)understanding. (Il)legibility. Saying. Looking. Hearing. Meaning. Making. Failing to.
No listicle. No best. No round-up. The list as technique, gesture, interruption—yes.
This. As opposed to that.