Friday, December 01, 2006

Where is the Midwest?

I have been a part of a series of very interesting conversations dealing with vernacular regions. (For those of you not in the "know" a vernacular region is a region which is loosely defined by people's perception). Places like the American South and Middle East are regions which can be described as vernacular. Common bonds among regions usually include human (similar culture, economics, ethnic group) and physical (similar physical landscape, etc).

The people in my discussion could settle on which states are in New England and in the South but one widely varying region was the Midwest. Some had the Midwest starting as far east as Pennsylvania while others thought it was found only in the Great Plains states. A simple map search reveals no one has any solid idea where the Midwest is.

So where do you all think the Midwest is? Are there any other regions open to so much debate?


Jude said...

I always resent it when people stick Colorado in the midwest. However, if you think about eastern Colorado, much of it is more characteristic of the midwest than of the rest of the mountainous or Great Plains portions of the state. They never know what to do with my state--sometimes we're in the Rocky Mountain States (logical), sometimes in the southwest (huh? lump us in with Texas?) and sometimes the west. I prefer being part of the west, but then you've got those folks who are even farther west than we are--the Pacific states. As my brother would say, "They're all imaginary lines anyway, so what does it matter?"

Anonymous said...

Is it necessary that state boundaries have to be maintained? Aren't most in the trans-Mississippi West rather arbitrary anyway?

It makes much more sense to think of the box that is Colorado as the anomaly, not splitting Rocky Colorado from rolling Colorado.