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.
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 take advantage of new digital technologies to advance research and
teaching in these areas.
Muncie High School
Consolidation Oral History Project. The Center is engaged in an effort to document experiences surrounding
the merger of Muncie Southside and Muncie Central High Schools in 2014. As part of the project, we are conducting
oral history interviews that give local residents the opportunity to share
their views on the decision to combine the schools and the significance of the
merger for Muncie’s past, present, and future.
If you are interested in participating, please contact (or leave a
message with your contact details for) Rich Usdowski at 765-285-8037. The project is supported by a grant from the
Community Foundation of Muncie and Delaware County. For details go here.
The What Middletown Read database (www.bsu.edu/libraries/wmr) is now
open for use. Praise for the project from the New York Times and Slate can be
found 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 of the closing of the BorgWarner auto parts plant
in Muncie, Indiana, in April 2009. The film has aired on PBS stations around
the country. 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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