Middle West Review

Middle West Review

Edited by Jon K. Lauck
Jeff Wells and MaryKat Parks Workinger, Associate Editors 

ISSN 2372-5664

eISSN 2372-5672

Purchasing options

Muse Logo


The Middle West Review is an interdisciplinary, peer-reviewed journal focused on studying the American Midwest, a “lost region” which has received far less scholarly attention than other American regions. Middle West Review is the only scholarly print publication dedicated exclusively to the study of the Midwest as a region. It provides a forum for scholars and non-scholars alike to explore the meaning of Midwestern identity, history, geography, society, culture, and politics. Overall, the mission of the Middle West Review is to join with like-minded associations, historical societies, writers, and scholars to help revitalize the study of the American Midwest. The inaugural issue of the journal was published in the fall of 2014 and since 2019 Middle West Review has made the University of South Dakota its home. 

Table Of Contents

Volume 7, Number 2 (Spring 2021)

Introduction: African American Migration to Smaller Midwestern Cities
Brie Swenson Arnold

Symposium on the African American Midwest
With Shared Roots: Rubie Bond, the Great Migration, and the Struggle for Black Freedom in Beloit, Wisconsin
Francis Gourrier

“The Bitter with the Sweet”: African Americans in Parsons, Kansas
Bryan M. Jack

“Times Certainly Have Changed”: Burlington, Iowa’s Black Community on the Mississippi, 1860–1920
Dwain Coleman

Black Shapings of Freedom and Emancipation Celebrations in Saginaw, Michigan, 1839–1915
Michelle S. Johnson

An Ever-Present Impulse: The Legacy of Anti-Black Violence and the Paradox of Minnesota Exceptionalism
William D. Green

The Long History of Black Political and Identity Struggles in Minnesota: A Consideration of the Work of William D. Green
Jacob A. Bruggeman

Putting the Black Midwest Front and Center
Selika Ducksworth-Lawton

Book Reviews
Rebecca Barrett-Fox, God Hates: Westboro Baptist Church, American Nationalism, and the Religious Right
Paul E. Teed

Deborah E. Kanter, Chicago Católico: Making Catholic Parishes Mexican
Emiliano Aguilar

Cynthia Leanne Landrum, The Dakota Sioux Experience at Flandreau and Pipestone Indian Schools
John R. Legg

Charles McCarthy, The Wisconsin Idea
Tim Lacy

Richard L. Pifer with Marjorie Hannon Pifer, The Great War Comes to Wisconsin: Sacrifice, Patriotism, and Free Speech in a Time of Crisis
Jonathan Kasparek

Jim Reese, Bone Chalk
Patrick Hicks

Matthew Roth, Magic Bean: The Rise of Soy in America
David D. Vail

Joshua Specht, Red Meat Republic: A Hoof-to-Table History of How Beef Changed America
Hayden L. Nelson

Mary Wisniewski, Algren: A Life
Douglas Sheldon

Constance Fenimore Woolson, Castle Nowhere: Lake-Country Sketches
MaryKat Parks Workinger

Review Essay
How Frémont Framed the West
John Bicknell

Media Reviews
The Importance of Place in The Act (Hulu, 2019–)
Charity Gibson

Pullman: Labor, Race, and the Urban Landscape in a Company Town: A Digital Exhibition at The Newberry
Jaka Lombar

Don’t Breathe (2016), directed by Fede Álvarez
Tim Posada

The Bridges of Madison County, dir. Clint Eastwood, 1995
Neepa Sarkar 

Submissions & Book Reviews

Statement of Publishing Ethics

The Middle West Review accepts submissions on a rolling basis. We encourage readers to contribute original content that deepens the public’s understanding of the American Midwest in an accessible and thoughtful manner. Some examples of submission types include:

Articles and Essays
Scholarly articles or essays should run roughly 8,000-12,000 words and articulate a central thesis about an important aspect of the Midwest. These works should build upon original research or new interpretations of existing sources and advance a unique argument pertaining to the American Midwest and, when appropriate, rely on proper citations and a footnote apparatus. Authors are advised to review earlier issues of Middle West Review to better understand the type of articles published by the journal.

Photo Essays
These projects should incorporate original photographs of or about the Midwest. We ask contributors to also include a description of each photograph and a brief written explanation (100 to 200 words) of their significance as a body of work.

Book Reviews: Middle West Review is eager to review new books related to the Midwest and to publish review essays which discuss groupings of recent books about the Midwest. Book review inquiries should be directed to Jennifer Stinson: jstinson@svsu.edu

Other types of submissions will be also considered. All contributions will undergo a process of peer review spearheaded by the Middle West Review editors and executive board.

Submissions will either be accepted for publication outright, returned with a request to “revise and resubmit,” or rejected outright. All submissions will benefit from the comments and revisions of the Middle West Review editors and its editorial reviewers.

Stylistic Guidelines
Authors should consult the Chicago Manual of Style as they prepare to submit their manuscripts to Middle West Review. Works should use endnotes in accordance with that manual’s specifications. Please Times New Roman 12-point font. All written submissions should be double-spaced and have one-inch margins on all sides. Manuscripts should be clear, concise, and devoid of jargon. Refrain from using the first person or passive voice. Successful submissions will marshal a strong argument buttressed by adequate evidence, thoughtful analysis, and lucid prose. Furthermore, in keeping with the journal’s mission, manuscripts should use the Midwest as a category of analysis and seek to explain why their project matters for the study of this region.

Please feel free to submit your materials at any time to MWR@USD.edu. You can also send any questions about submissions and other matters to that address.

Editorial Board


Jon K. Lauck, University of South Dakota

Associate Editors

Jeff Wells, University of Nebraska at Kearney

MaryKat Parks Workinger, Ferrysburg, Michigan

Executive Editors

Richard J. Jensen, Montana State University–Billings

Paula Nelson, University of Wisconsin at Platteville

Gregory L. Schneider, Emporia State University

Editorial Board

Stephen Aron, University of California–Los Angeles

William Barillas, University of Wisconsin–La Crosse

Megan Birk, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

James F. Brooks, University of California–Santa Barbara

David F. Good, University of Minnesota–Twin Cities

Jeffrey Helgeson, Texas State University

Jason A. Heppler, University of Nebraska Omaha

Wallace A. Hettle, University of Northern Iowa

Michael Innis-Jiménez, University of Alabama

Rebecca J. Kinney, Bowling Green State University

Sara A. Kosiba, Kent State University

Brian Craig Miller, Mission College

Matthew Sanderson, Kansas State University

Andrew Seal, University of New Hampshire

Sharon E. Wood, University of Nebraska Omaha

Eric S. Zimmer, Vantage Point Historical Services

Book Review Editor

Jennifer Stinton, Saginaw Valley State University

Media Review Editor

Adam Ochonicky, University of Wisconsin–Oshkosh


Call for Proposals: Sixth Annual Midwestern History Conference

Tuesday, May 12–Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Grand Rapids, Michigan

Proposal Submission Deadline: Friday, January 3, 2020 (non-negotiable)

The Midwestern History Association and the Hauenstein Center at Grand Valley State University invite proposals for papers to be delivered at the Sixth Annual Midwestern History Conference, to be held May 12-13, 2020, in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

This conference continues a discussion which has grown significantly over the last five years, at collaborative conferences designed to spark—and sustain—a revival of Midwestern studies in American historiography. Infused with the varieties of original research pursued by scholars from many different career paths and stages, this annual gathering strives to cultivate rigorous historical understanding of a complex, dynamic, and misunderstood region. Last year’s 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.

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 use race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, Indigeneity, diaspora, and transnationalism as topics and categories of analysis for exploring Midwestern history.

Panel and roundtable proposals 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. All proposals must also contain contact information for every presenter included in the proposal.

Proposals should be sent to Jakob Bigard of Grand Valley State University’s Hauenstein Center at bigardja@gvsu.edu.

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 MHA President Ted Frantz at efrantz@uindy.edu. Members are 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.



Article Sales
Single articles and full issues from Middle West Review are now available for purchase through Project MUSE.

Sponsoring Society

Middle West Review is affiliated with the Midwestern History Association. Upon joining the MHA, members will receive Middle West Review for free. Join on the MHA page on this website.


Reading List: Migration

This list of peer-reviewed materials features articles on many topics spanning Globalization, Genocide, Religion, Diaspora Communities, and other aspects on the topic of Migration.

Reading List: Willa Cather

This list of peer-reviewed articles & reviews centers on the work of acclaimed author (and UNL alum) Willa Cather. Known for her novels on the pioneer experience, her works are reexamined here through the lens of modern-day academics.

Reading List: Social Media

As online communities continue to widen their reach, so too does our list of peer-reviewed articles on various subjects including Journalism, Communal Narrative, Activism, Marketing, and Image Rehabilitation.

Reading List: Sports-Related Controversies, Social Issues, and Scandals

This sprawling list includes peer-reviewed articles on subjects as diverse as the fields of play they revolve around, including Violence in Sports, Gambling & Game Fixing, Drugs & Banned Substances, Mascots & Offensive Imagery, and other controversies.

Useful Links

Recommend This Journal

Recommend this Journal to Your Library

Libraries face a dilemma: the number of books, journals, and other information resources available to offer to their patrons is growing faster than their acquisitions budgets. Decisions about which new materials to add in a given year are influenced by a number of factors, not the least of which are whether they are aware of the existence of a resource and the value that resource would bring to those who rely on the library. Librarians often appreciate the input of users in gathering the information they need to make those evaluations. There is no one right way to share information about a particular journal with a library. Some institutions have formal procedures for submitting acquisition requests, others rely on regular communication between subject area librarians and the departments they serve, and some have no specifically defined method. You are in the best position to determine the most appropriate method for approaching your library with a request for the addition of a journal to its collection. However, we have developed a library recommendation form as one tool you can use to provide your library with relevant information. The form contains basic information about the journal: a description, its print and electronic ISSNs, frequency of publication, pricing, print and electronic options, and ordering information. It also includes a few questions for you to complete that address your evaluation of the journal's value. If you choose to use the form, fill it out then send it to the appropriate individual at your library. Do not return it to the University of Nebraska Press.

Single Issues

View All Issues