CFP: special issue, midwestern farm crisis

The Middle West Review invites submissions for a special issue on the farm crisis. During the 1980s, an economic crisis displaced thousands of farm families and affected the broader social, political, economic, and cultural foundations of the Midwest. Now, thirty years later, this special issue strives to capture that broader picture and initiate new dialogues on the legacy of those difficult years.

Guest editors Jenny Barker-Devine, associate professor of history at Illinois College, and David Vail, assistant professor and public services archivist at Kansas State University, welcome essays that explore the effects of the Farm Crisis on individuals, farms, and communities, as well as analyses of activism, policy, and politics. Because we still have much to learn about the Farm Crisis, the editors also welcome articles that review specific archival collections, oral history collections, and other materials that will assist researchers interested in locating more information on this period. Essays should be firmly rooted within a framework of midwestern regional identity. Authors might consider questions such as: How did the farm crisis unfold? Who did it affect and how? Did individual resistance and the activist response result in meaningful change? In what ways did it shape the Midwest of today? What kinds of assumptions about regional identity motored media and policy responses to the crisis? Thirty years later, what long-term political, economic, and social consequences? What can the legacy of activist groups, or more specifically the Farm Aid benefit, teach us about philanthropy, region, and historical memory?

Essays should run between 5,000 to 10,000 words and articulate a central thesis about the study of the Midwest. These works should build upon original research or new interpretations of existing sources and advance a unique argument that complicates the existing body of knowledge pertaining to the American Midwest.

The Middle West Review also welcomes photo essays that incorporate original photographs of or about the Midwest. Contributors should include a description of each photograph and a brief written explanation (100 to 200 words) of their significance as a body of work.

All contributions will undergo a process of peer review spearheaded by the Middle West Review editorial board. Your submission 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 editorial board and its editorial reviewers.

The Middle West Review is a biannual, interdisciplinary, scholarly journal about the American Midwest. The inaugural issue was published in September 2014 by the University of Nebraska Press. It aims to explore the significance of midwestern identity, geography, society, culture, and politics. We urge scholars and non-scholars alike to probe these and other questions in thoughtful submissions to the Middle West Review. A peer reviewed journal, the Middle West Review seeks to reach a popular audience while also remaining on the cutting edge of scholarly inquiry. To these ends, the Middle West Review encourages submissions of all varieties, especially those that push the boundaries of interdisciplinarity and interactivity. For more information, please visit:

Contributors should submit their work to: no later than May 1, 2015. Any questions may be directed to guest editors Jenny Barker-Devine ( and David Vail (


Important announcement about the MWR

Dear friends of and contributors to the Middle West Review:

As you all know, we had previously expected to publish our initial issue next week. However, in the past few days, we have been working toward finalizing a partnership with the University of Nebraska Press (UNP). As we negotiate and agree upon the terms of this partnership, we will need to postpone the publication of our inaugural issue and the launch of our website. At this time, we are uncertain of the exact date on which this issue will be published, but we can reasonably expect to do so in the next three months. Accordingly, we have extended the deadline for submissions to be considered for this initial issue. Though we were prepared to publish a strong inaugural issue next week, we feel that we can supplement the excellent work we have already selected, revised, and readied for publication. We therefore encourage all those interested in contributing to the Middle West Review to do so before Monday, June 9, 2014. We are very excited about the prospect of working with the UNP and feel that this minor delay will prove worthwhile.

The Middle West Review will continue to operate in much the same way that it has. Our current editorial structure will not be significantly altered. Nonetheless, the UNP will assist with some critical logistical matters and allow us to bring our content to a wider audience. The UNP staff will help with copyediting, typesetting, printing, marketing, fulfilling subscription orders, archiving, financial recordkeeping, managing copyright and subsidiary issues, web development, and digital publishing.

Most importantly, our vision of reviving the study of the American Midwest will remain firmly intact. This partnership will make the Middle West Review a stronger and more effective product. Through this collaborative arrangement, we look forward to bringing fine, cutting edge scholarship on the Midwest to the public.

Thank you for your patience with the Middle West Review and your dedication to our mission. If you have any questions or concerns about this new partnership and the future direction of the journal, please feel free to contact editor-in-chief Paul Mokrzycki via email at


The Middle West Review editorial board