The Center for Western Studies Announces Publication of New Book

Midwest vs. Great Plains. What’s the difference—and who cares?  The difference (or similarity) is addressed in a new collection of twenty-two essays titled “The Interior Borderlands: Regional Identity in the Midwest and Great Plains.”  The book is published by the Center for Western Studies at Augustana University in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and edited by historian Jon K. Lauck. Included in the collection are essay contributions by two Augustana faculty: Dr. Debbie Hanson, professor of English and Dr. Michael Mullin, professor of history.

Lauck, an adjunct professor at the University of South Dakota, is the author of “From Warm Center to Ragged Edge: The Erosion of Midwestern Regionalism, 1920-1965” (2017) and “The Lost Region: Toward a Revival of Midwestern History” (2013).

The “Borderlands” essays explore the various ways in which writers and scholars currently view the two regions and proposes a “borderlands” concept for the area where the Midwest and Great Plains intersect. The contributors are scholars and writers from several states in the Midwest and Great Plains.

The book will be launched with a panel discussion at the Fifth Annual Midwestern History Conference being held May 30-31 at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan.

John R. Wunder, Emeritus Professor of History and Emeritus Director of the Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, has called this “…a special book. Its uniqueness is in part due to the questions it asks: Where does the northern Great Plains end and the upper Midwest begin?  In essence, is there a case to build for ‘interior borderlands,’ the title of the volume? Twenty-two regional experts have taken on this challenge, and the result is a book that rivals any and all other North American regional writings. Don't miss it!”

Richard W. Etulain, coauthor of “Presidents Who Shaped the American West” (2018) and author of “The Life and Legends of Calamity Jane” (2017) calls this “…another notable contribution to our burgeoning understanding of the American Midwest. The provocative preface by Harry Thompson and the insightful introduction by the prolific volume editor Jon Lauck, plus the twenty gathered essays, add up to a remarkable anthology. The authors furnish important understandings of the Midwest as place and geographical setting and significant insights into its social and culture milieus. The range and variety of the collection are particularly appealing and impressive. Well done, a strong source for all readers.”

This is the second title in the Center’s new Public Affairs Series, following “Conservation in the Northern Plains: New Perspectives,” (2018) edited by Anthony A. Amato, Southwest State Minnesota University, Mankato.

The Center for Western Studies is a research and publishing program of Augustana University whose mission is to improve the quality of social and cultural life in the Northern Plains. They are the only university-based book publisher in South Dakota, publishing since 1978.

“The Interior Borderlands: Regional Identity in the Midwest and Great Plains,” edited with an introduction by Jon K. Lauck.

ISBN 978-0-931170-12-6, 327 pages (plus 52 pages of preface and introduction), illustrations, $15.00

Contact information: 

Jon Lauck, Editor

Harry Thompson, Publisher