The Regional Conference – Pt 1
This time about a week and a half ago I was at the Doubletree Hotel in Springfield, Missouri, participating in the 30th annual Mid-America Conference on History. This relatively small (at least compared to the OAH, SMH, and SHA) regional conference rotates between Springfield (where it is sponsored by Missouri State University), Stillwater (Oklahoma State University as sponsor, although next year it will be in Norman and sponsored by the University of Oklahoma), Lawrence/Topeka (sponsored by Washburn or Kansas University), and Fayetteville (sponsored by the University of Arkansas).
This was at least the tenth time I have been on the program of this conference either as a chair/commentator or paper presenter, with my first attendance having been way back in 1995, when, like this year, it was held in Springfield—although at the time MSU was still known as Southwest Missouri State University. This year I chaired and served as commentator for a two-paper session on the American Revolution in which the presenters were graduate students from the University of Kansas and Texas Tech University. (For some reason the line in “Jukebox Hero” about passing your own shadow by the backstage door comes to mind in these situations.) Moreover, one of my students here at the staff college, LCDR J. Wesley House, was presenting a paper on the Truman administration and Iran.
In addition to my session and Wes’s, I attended two on the Civil War, one of which saw a University of Arkansas grad student by the name of Scott Tarnowiecky present a paper entitled “Hard Hand of War? A Challenge to the Grimsley Thesis on the Outbreak of Guerrilla War.” Needless to say, I participated robustly in the Q and A portion of the session. Then, after the session was over I talked to the author, told him Mark has indicated on a number of occasions that he would be interested rather than hostile to anyone who sought to critically engage with his work, and gave him Mark’s contact info.
Next week, I’ll follow this post up with one discussing my experiences and offering some general observations and perspectives on the Mid-America and other regional conferences.
Part 1 – Part 2