Center for Middletown Studies News, Spring 2020
The Center has completed the Nonprofit Social Services oral history project, which examines recent trends and developments in the local nonprofit social service sector. The project was funded by the George and Frances Ball Foundation. Interview transcripts and other material will soon be available via the Ball State Digital Media Repository.
The Center's Wild West in the Heartland project, which examines the response in Midwestern communities to William F. Cody’s famed Wild West touring exhibition is ongoing. Funded by the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, the project investigates responses to the exhibition across the Midwest between 1883 and 1916. The larger goal of the project is to explore the process of regional identity formation in the United States.
The Everyday Life in Middletown project continues. We have collected fourteen sets of diaries and directive responses. The project directors, Pat Collier (English) and Jim Connolly (Middletown Studies) have submitted a grant proposal to the NEH to fund a symposium exploring everyday life studies.
The Center is supporting the Midwest County History project, an investigation of late nineteenth and twentieth-century Midwestern identity and community history that employs text mining tools to analyze published local histories.
The Center recently hosted two Visiting Scholars: Dr. Liang Wenjing, an anthropologist from Chongqing University, China, conducted research on voluntary activity and nonprofit institutions in Middletown. Li Yexin, Professor of Literature, Hubei University of Nationalities, China examined American folk art in Muncie and the Midwest.
The tenth Small Cities Conference was scheduled for May, 2020, but has been postponed to May, 2021. The Conference organizers from the Center for Business and Economic Research and the Center for Middletown Studies are completing a published volume of selected papers from the last conference that examines the challenges facing smaller cities amid technological change.