Call for Proposals: Seventh Annual Midwestern History Conference

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Call for Proposals: Seventh Annual Midwestern History Conference

Wednesday, May 26 – Thursday, May 27, 2021

Zoom Webinar

Proposal Submission Deadline: Friday, February 5, 2021 (non-negotiable)

Conference Theme: “The Midwest at the Intersection of Past and Present”

The Midwestern History Association and the Hauenstein Center at Grand Valley State University invite proposals for papers to be delivered at the Seventh Annual Midwestern History Conference, to be held May 26-27, 2021, over Zoom Webinar.

This conference continues a vibrant discussion which has grown significantly over the last six years by placing Midwestern studies at the center of American historiography. Scholars from many different career paths and stages with original research gather at this annual meeting, striving to cultivate rigorous historical understanding of a complex, dynamic, and often misunderstood region. The 2019 Midwestern History Conference attracted more than 180 participants serving on 50 panels. Plenary speakers at the Midwestern History Conference in previous years have included winners of the Pulitzer, Bancroft, and Parkman Prizes, a National Book Award Finalist, and a past president of the Labor and Working Class History Association.

The Sixth Annual Conference, was scheduled to take place on May 12-13, 2020, but it was cancelled as a result of the COVID-19 global pandemic. As the pandemic is ongoing, the decision has been made to go virtual for the upcoming 2021 conference. In doing so, the conference will be smaller in scope, meaning there will be fewer panels concurrently. Panels will be conducted live over Zoom Webinar, and all participants will give consent to be recorded live. 

We welcome papers relating to all aspects of the history of the American Midwest – in all its diversity. At this time, the Midwestern History Association is particularly interested in receiving submissions that examine and contextualize topics including race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, Indigeneity, class, diaspora, and transnationalism as topics and categories of analysis for exploring Midwestern history. We also encourage the use of visual aids, digital media, and interactive elements to be incorporated into panel presentations, making them as engaging as possible in the virtual format. 

Proposals for panel and roundtables are encouraged, with a moderator and/or chair, should be a maximum of 1,000 words.

Individual paper proposals are also welcome and should be a maximum of 300 words.

All proposals must be accompanied by short vitas of the participants and contain contact information for every presenter included in the proposal.

In an effort to promote scholarly conversation and collaboration, the MHA and the Hauenstein Center will limit participants to a single panel or event this year.

Proposals should be sent to Jakob Bigard of Grand Valley State University’s Hauenstein Center at

The Midwestern History Association, created in the fall of 2014, is dedicated to rebuilding the field of Midwestern History, which had suffered from decades of neglect and inattention. The MHA advocates for greater attention to Midwestern history among professional historians, seeks to rebuild the infrastructure necessary for the study of the American Midwest, promotes greater academic discourse relating to Midwestern history, and offers prizes to scholars who excel in the study of the Midwest.

To become a member of the Midwestern History Association, please contact the University of Nebraska Press at the link below:

Members can receive a subscription to Middle West Review, the association’s journal of record. Members are also added to an email list that provides access to news about upcoming conferences, calls for papers, and other proposals related to Midwestern history. Standard member dues are $40; the student rate is $20. The MHA also gladly accepts donations toward the cost of annual prizes and other expenses, as well.

Inspired by Ralph Hauenstein’s life of leadership and service, and based at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the Hauenstein Center is dedicated to raising a community of ethical, effective leaders for the twenty-first century. Launched with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Center’s Common Ground Initiative engages leading scholars, writers, and public officials in conversations about the cultural, political, and intellectual challenges that Americans face.

As a proud partner of the Midwestern History Association, the Hauenstein Center is committed to supporting historical scholarship on the American Midwest. Bounded by the Great Plains and Great Lakes; known for agriculture and industry; for irenic countryside and great cities; labeled the Breadbasket, the Heartland, and the Rust Belt; the history of the Midwest – its peoples and places, cultures and conflicts, aspirations and afflictions – is the history of America’s most common ground.