When I was 9, the Ohio state tourism slogan became: Ohio, The Heart of it All, and I felt vindicated, this little girl who dreamed of the bright lights of big, cosmopolitan (coastal) cities. Maybe, after all, the middle was the sweet spot! And now here comes another HEARTLAND… I’m still reading Sarah Smarsh’s HEARTLAND: A MEMOIR…, when this author interview found my inbox. Thought I’d share with you what might prove to be an interesting historical perspective of the American Midwest. More soon. ~Rebecca

Longreads

Bridey Heing | Longreads | April 2019 | 10 minutes (2,589 words)

The American Midwest is hard to define. Even which states can be considered “Midwestern” depends on who you ask; is it what lies between Ohio and Iowa? Or does the Midwest stretch further west across the Great Plains; north into Wisconsin, Minnesota, and the Dakotas; or east into parts of Pennsylvania and New York state? Perhaps part of the confusion over the term is rooted in the idea that the Midwest represents far more than a geographic space — it represents a vision of the country as a whole, and is a stand-in for nostalgia, despite the fact that the reality of the nation, and the Midwest along with it, has always been far messier than any myth.

In her new book, The Heartland: An American History, University of Illinois professor Kristin L. Hoganson tells the story…

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9 thoughts on “‘Midwesterners Have Seen Themselves As Being in the Center of Everything.’

  1. Looking forward to reading this book…we have so many different cultures right here in the US, and I like understanding the characteristics of each…the far west, the deep south, the pacific northwest, the midwest and northeast….we are all “one” but we are so much more

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  2. Geography is everything in this country. Even the name of the country is a geographical reference. Are we really that dull? I live in the Midwest? We should probably scrap the eagle, and just use a compass as the symbol. It’d be perfect for coins. Do we have a constitution? Or is it just a map?

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    1. A compass–I like it and see what you’re saying. We do seem to be a country obsessed with geography (though many of us, myself included, might not be able to locate all 50 states if given a blank map!).

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  3. There’s a blank map test online for that. Most of us could’t find Venezuela on a map, or tell you how long it takes light to get here from the sun. We’re an entertainment and work driven society. We mindlessly refer to our country as America. When the campaigning politicians are talking about improving the economy in America, I’m thinking ‘Yeah, I bet Central America will definitely come out to vote for this person’.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Hahaha. I was afraid to take the test. When I was like 21, I spent a couple days in SLC. It was a cool place. There was a warehouse that had a coffee shop, and all these weird art studios. There was a bizarre recording studio with guitars, toy instruments, a sitar, etc etc. All the people I met were perfectly strange. I think it was a byproduct of oppression. But I didn’t get to see the ocean. Like 25 years later i realized that Utah isn’t on the ocean. It’s like next to California, or something. Yeah, I’ll pass on that test…

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