New Initiatives:

Everyday Life in Middletown (link to pdf)

Small Cities Project 2018 (link to pdf)

The mission of the Center for Middletown Studies is to build on the scholarship inaugurated by Robert S. and Helen Merrell Lynd in their landmark studies Middletown (1929) and Middletown in Transition (1937). These in-depth accounts of life in Muncie, Indiana, became classic sociological studies and established the community as a barometer of social trends in the United States. 

In the years since, scholars in a variety of fields have returned to Muncie to follow up on the Lynds' work, making this small city among the most studied communities in the nation. The center continues this tradition by sponsoring and promoting research on Muncie as Middletown, on small cities generally, on the sociocultural impact of large-scale economic change, and on other themes and issues the Lynds explored.  It aims as well to develop new forms of digital scholarship that advance research and teaching in these areas.

Current projects at the Center include a conference on economically vulnerable cities, an oral history of the evolving civic character of churches and faith communities, an examination of everyday life experiences, and a study of voter polarization in local contexts.  For more information on current activities, see the News and Events page. Other recent Center-sponsored endeavors includes the analysis of historical reading experiences, documenting the process of consolidating local high schools, exploring the impact of a factory closing, and an ongoing collaboration with scholars from China engaged in ethnographic studies of Middletown and American life. 

Other research initiatives and projects include:

Contact us for more information about our research and resources.