Britt Halvorson/Joshua Reno on Imagining the Heartland

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(8/30/2022)According to Socio-cultural Anthropologist Joshua Reno and Associate Professor of Anthropology Britt Britt Halvorson, many associate racism with the regional legacy of the South yet in fact, it is the Midwest that has upheld some of the nation’s most deep-seated convictions about the value of whiteness. From Jefferson’s noble farmer to The Wizard of Oz, imagining the Midwest has quietly gone hand-in-hand with imagining whiteness as desirable and virtuous. Since at least the U.S. Civil War, the imagined Midwest has served as a screen or canvas, projecting and absorbing tropes and values of virtuous whiteness and its opposite, white deplorability, with national and global significance. Imagining the Heartland provides a poignant and timely answer to how and why the Midwest has played this role in the American imagination. Join is when anthropologists Britt Halvorson and Josh Reno argue that there is an unexamined affinity between whiteness, Midwestness, and Americanness, anchored in their shared ordinary and homogenized qualities on this installment of Leonard Lopate at Large.

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