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Left in the Midwest Author Talk

Join us for a virtual book talk about the newly published book Left in the Midwest: St. Louis Progressive Activism in the 1960s and 1970s. Hear from contributing authors Clarence Lang, Luke Ritter, Nina Gilden Seavey, and Thomas Spencer. Benjamin Looker, one of the volume’s co-editors, will help moderate the discussion.

Free and open to all, registration required for Zoom link. The Zoom meeting will begin at 4 pm CDT.

Panelist Bios:

Clarence Lang is Susan Welch Dean of the College of the Liberal Arts and Professor of African American Studies at The Pennsylvania State University. He is the author of Grassroots at the Gateway: Class Politics and Black Freedom Struggle in St. Louis, 1936–75 (2009), and Black America in the Shadow of the Sixties: Notes on the Civil Rights Movement, Neoliberalism, and Politics (2015). A co-editor of two other volumes, he has published in the Journal of Social History, the Journal of African American History, the Journal of Civil and Human Rights, and the Journal of Urban History.

Benjamin Looker, volume co-editor, is an Associate Professor in the American Studies department at Saint Louis University. His most recent monograph is A Nation of Neighborhoods: Imagining Cities, Communities, and Democracy in Postwar America (2015), recipient of four professional-association book awards. Recent and in-progress projects examine housing and integration in the Great Society–era US city, Filipino theater and activism in Ontario, and the contested role of 1960s urban arts institutions and arts education.

Luke Ritter is an Assistant Professor at New Mexico Highlands University. He is the author of Inventing America’s First Immigration Crisis: Political Nativism in the Antebellum West (2021). Ritter received his PhD in American history from Saint Louis University. In 2017, he appeared as a featured speaker at Troy University’s TEDx Conference. He is the author of numerous articles published in the Journal of American Ethnic HistoryAmerican Nineteenth Century History, the Journal of Early American History, and the Missouri Historical Review.

Nina Gilden Seavey is an Emmy Award–winning documentarian with an over thirty-year career in the nonfiction world. Seavey is the Founding Director of The Documentary Center at The George Washington University. She holds the academic rank of Research Professor of History and Media and Public Affairs. Seavey’s documentaries have won numerous awards, including five national Emmy nominations (one statue awarded), the Erik Barnouw Prize for Best Historical Film of the Year, and the Peter C. Rollins Prize for Best Film in American Culture, among others. She has received many professional accolades, including being named one of the top fifty professors of journalism in the US, and she was named a “Woman of Vision” by Women in Film and Video. More information about her work can be found at

Thomas M. Spencer is Dean of the Honors College and Professor of History at Texas A&M University-Kingsville. He is also the editor of, and a contributor to, the University of Missouri Press titles The Other Missouri History: Populists, Prostitutes, and Regular Folk (2004) and The Missouri Mormon Experience (2010).