The Interior Borderlands: Regional Identity in the Midwest and Great Plains

Detail from cover of "Interior Borderlands"

ISBN: 978-0-931170-12-6
379 pages, including preface and introduction

2020 Midwest Book Awards Winner

Where does the Midwest end and the Great Plains begin? And does it matter?

The authors of essays in this recent volume from the Center for Western Studies believe such questions are important to understanding how regional identity forms and persists — or erodes and even disappears.

Cover of "Interior Borderlands"

Copies are available for purchase on Amazon and in the CWS Gift Shop.

This new collection of twenty-two essays is titled “The Interior Borderlands: Regional Identity in the Midwest and Great Plains.”

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 book is published by the Center for Western Studies at Augustana University in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and edited by historian Jon K. Lauck, University of South Dakota.

Listen to a South Dakota Public Radio interview with editor Jon K. Lauck and CWS Executive Director Harry Thompson.

Contributing Authors

The contributors are scholars and writers from several states in the Midwest and Great Plains.

  • James S. Aber
  • Susan W. Aber
  • Julie Courtwright
  • James E. Davis
  • Anna Thompson Hajdik
  • Rachael Hanel
  • Debbie A. Hanson
  • Maria Howe
  • Mara W. Cohen Ioannides
  • Christopher R. Laingen
  • Matthew S. Luckett
  • Nathalie Massip
  • Michael J. Mullin
  • Paula M. Nelson
  • Lance Nixon
  • David Pichaske
  • Jay M. Price
  • Joseph D. Schiller
  • Brad Tennant
  • Will Weaver
  • Gleaves Whitney

About the Editor: Recent books by Jon K. Lauck, University of South Dakota, are "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). He is also co-editor of "The Plains Political Tradition: Essays on South Dakota Political Culture" (2011, 2014, and 2018).


"The contributors here provide a rich array of ideas regarding the borderlands between the Midwest and Great Plains. The more we understand these borderlands, the greater our appreciation will be of the forces that shaped them and us."
— Ramon Powers, Former Executive Director of the Kansas Historical Society (see full review in Kansas History)

"This is 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!"
— John R. Wunder, Emeritus Professor of History and Emeritus Director of the Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

"This valuable collection of smoothly written essays provides 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 cultural milieus. The range and variety of the collection are particularly appealing and impressive. Well done, a strong source for all readers."
Richard W. Etulain, coauthor of "Presidents Who Shaped the American West" (2018) and author of "The Life and Legends of Calamity Jane" (2017)