Calls for Papers

Call for proposals for chapters for a new edited book about the formative era of Midwestern history entitled “The Making of the Midwest.” If the fin de siècle nineteenth century witnessed a Midwestern Moment of cultural, economic, and political prominence for the region, then the preceding century witnessed the steady maturation of a region and a slow process of identity formation. Any and all proposals which relate to this theme will be considered; potential topics could include (but are certainly not limited to) the emergence of the first voices from the region that would become the Midwest; the recognition of distinctions between the Midwest and other regions; the crucial role of the Civil War in cementing Midwestern identity; the emergence of Midwestern cultural institutions; the evolution of terms such as West, Middle West, Midwest, etc.

The temporal parameters of this project were determined by the adoption of the Northwest Ordinance in 1787, which first gave preliminary shape to the region that would become the American Midwest, and 1900, when the region’s identity had been formed to a significant extent and the Midwestern Moment had arrived. For more on the latter, potential authors are urged to examine The Midwestern Moment: The Forgotten World of Midwestern Regionalism, 1880-1940 (Hastings College Press, 2017).

The collection will be published by Hastings College Press as part of its Rediscovering the American Midwest series, edited by Jon K. Lauck and Tricia Oman. It will be entitled “The Making of the Midwest: Essays on the Formation of Midwestern Identity, 1787–1900” and edited by Jon K. Lauck. Proposals of 500 words or less and a vita are due by February 1, 2018 and should be sent to Jon Lauck If a proposal is accepted, an author will be required to provide a completed chapter by February 1, 2019.

The annual SSML Symposium in May 2018 will be dedicating a panel or panels to author Tim O’Brien’s work. We solicit paper presentations dedicated to any and all aspects of O’Brien’s work. We’re particularly  interested in presentations that focus on Midwestern aspects of his writing, the relationship of Minnesota to his work, or on O’Brien in contrast with other Midwestern writers. Interdisciplinary proposals, such as those that explore O’Brien’s work through the lens of history, psychology, sociology, etc., are also welcome. Please submit a 250-word proposal and brief bio to Prof. Sara Kosiba no later than December 10, 2017. Presenters must be members of SSML by the time of the symposium in order to be eligible to present.

Call for papers for a session, “Ethnicity and Immigration in the Midwest,” sponsored by SSML at the annual American Literature Association Conference in San Francisco, May 24-27, 2018. Common visions of the Midwest homogenize a racially and ethnically diverse region. From the indigenous people who first inhabited the region to the contemporary refugees now calling it home, the region has been a homeland, a destination, and a crossroads. At times, the Midwest has been a place of warm welcome.  At other times, racism and xenophobia have made it a contested space with conflicted territorial demarcations. This panel will explore the diverse populations of the Midwest and the role that immigration has played in shaping the region. We encourage paper proposals on any and all aspects of ethnicity in Midwestern literature, particularly proposals that explore how ethnicity informs our understanding of the region’s past and its potential future. Send 250-word proposals and a brief C.V. to Sara Kosiba no later than January 15, 2018. More information about the conference is available at


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