H-Midwest Advisory Board member Jon Lauck recently appeared on South Dakota Public Radio along with John E. Miller to talk about The Revival of Midwestern Studies. Much good stuff there. As Jon says in the interview, “this is the moment for the revival.”
At one point the host asked Jon and John what “a vibrant Midwestern Studies program” might look. Jon proposed what he called “very modest goals”: an active association that hosts an annual conference, and major universities employing at least one person who teaches a course about the Midwest now and then. John added a need for publishing outlets.
Awhile back, news of a course on tacos made the rounds so I asked on Twitter if anyone knew of any courses on Midwestern foodways. I got one response about a food and film studies course. Since then I’ve been thinking about other Midwestern Studies courses that might be, and what a Midwestern Studies major might look like. What courses would be required? What courses are people teaching now about the Midwest?
And so I put these questions to you: what would a vibrant Midwestern Studies program look like? What do you think of Jon and John’s modest goals? (I appreciate the feasibility, but let’s think hypothetically: what do we really want?) What courses might be required of a major? Or a grad student? And more concretely, what courses are already being taught about the Midwest?