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, and on the themes and issues the Lynds explored.
Print Culture Histories Conference: The Center for Middletown
Studies held a conference devoted to the theme of “Print Culture
Histories Beyond the Metropolis” on March 15 and 16, 2013 in Muncie,
Indiana. The conference explored the ways that printed material was
produced, consumed, circulated, and encountered in smaller cities,
provincial districts, rural settings, colonial outposts, and comparable
contexts. For more details follow the link to the
conference on the right.
The What Middletown Read database (www.bsu.edu/libraries/wmr) is now open for use. Praised by The New York Times as "one of the few authoritative records of American reading" and describe by Slate as "wondrous," the database reproduces the circulation records of the Muncie Public Library between 1891 and 1902. Essays on What Middletown Read from the Times and Slate are available here and here.
Changing Gears: The Center for Middletown Studies, in conjunction with Ball State's Institute for Digital Entertainment and Education, has produced the documentary film Changing Gears, End of an Era. It explores the significance and impact of the closing of the BorgWarner auto parts plant in Muncie, Indiana, in April 2009. The National Educational Telecommunications Association has agreed to distribute film to PBS stations around the country. Check back for further details. To order a copy contact email@example.com or call 765-285-1600. More details on the film are available here.
Other areas of research include:
Contact us for more information about our research and resources.
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