Upcoming Events:

March 14, 2018: The Center will co-host celebration of the publication of Himanee Gupta-Carlson’s Muncie, India(na): Middletown and Asian America (University of Illinois Press, 2018).  The event, including a reading by the author, will take place from 7-8:30 pm at the Unitarian-Universalist Church, Muncie. 

April 9, 2018: Wayne Wiegand (Florida State University) will speak about his newest book (co-authored with Shirley Wiegand): The Desegregation of Public Libraries in the Jim Crow South (LSU Press). The talk will take place in Bracken Library Room 104.  The event is co-sponsored by the Friends of the Bracken Library and Ball State’s African-American Studies Program. 

May 11-12, 2018: The 2018 Small Cities Conference: Vulnerable Communities: Research, Policy, and Practice will take place at Ball State University’s Alumni Center, 2800 W. Bethel Rd. Muncie.  Follow the link for more details.

New Initiatives:                                                              

The Center for Middletown Studies has launched several new projects for the 2017-2018 academic year. To learn more, follow the links below:

Small Cities Conference 2018


Small Cities Conference 2018             Everyday Life in Middletown             


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. 

Research Agenda:

In the years since the Lynds completed their studies, scholars in a variety of fields have returned to Muncie to follow up on their pioneering 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.