Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Call for Chapters: From Fargo to Hawkins: Exploring 21st Century Midwestern Culture

From Fargo to Hawkins: Exploring 21st Century Midwestern Culture

Midwestern culture in the 2000-2025 era entered a distinct phase. The ubiquity of the internet, the coming of iphones, the demise of movie rental stores, the collapse of once-powerful urban newspapers, the thinning out of the cinema infrastructure, the fragmentation of media spaces, and the persistence and decline of institutions of regional culture all transformed the Midwest’s media and cultural landscape. Hastings College Press seeks proposals exploring all of these developments and various aspects of Midwestern culture throughout the first quarter-decade of the twenty-first century. Topics could include, but are not limited to, the Omaha-based movies of Alexander Payne, the Golden Age of television or prestige TV (did it pass the Midwest by?), the friction between a postmodern v. a traditional Midwest and the collapse of metanarratives, the creation of new literary journals (and their termination), new literary voices such as J. Ryan Stradal, the rise of new Muslim voices (--that novel set in Indiana, can’t remember at moment), the complexities of Rust Belt identity, Native American media (“Reservation Dogs”)) and writers (David Trauer), Barack Obama’s Kansas and Chicago, the television series “Fargo,” the Indiana of “Stranger Things,” how the Midwest was excluded from the Marvel Universe, Cleveland jokes (on “Thirty Rock” and elsewhere), the rise and exhaustion of trauma plots, essayists like Meghan O’Gieblyn, Roxanne Gay, and Debra Marquart, the emergence of gay rights themes (“Boys Don’t Cry”), Covid battles in the Midwest, Hannah Horvath (Lena Dunham) in Oberlin and Iowa City, the Caitlyn Clark media phenomena, the effective end of Prairie Home Companion, the free speech debate (the University of Chicago statement) as intertwined with CRT and wokeness, the “pretendian” controversy and Native American identity, the weakening of traditional Midwestern masculinity, and the “middle-ness” (or Midwest-ness) of Middle Earth and the Shire in the LOTR trilogy. Please send vita and 300-word proposals to Jon.Lauck@usd.edu, who will edit the collection to be published by Hastings College Press in 2026. Proposal deadline January 1, 2025.