For the second research series of the year, Dr. Daniel Jaster of Eureka College has been invited to share his book research titled, Returning home: Midwestern farm protests and re-living bygone utopias as resistance. Jaster asks the questions, “Why protest by actively re-living a past?” and “Why then, now?” During his talk, he will reflect on social change and how people interact with it.

Social change is normal: People encounter or create it, adjusting their identities accordingly. But radical changes can feel disempowering. Embodying an idealized past associated with having influence, a bygone utopia, can re-empower communities.

Dr. Daniel Jaster

Per Jaster, “Midwestern farmers’ protests from the 1830s through the 1980s highlight this bumpy road where people’s protest forms and identities create and adjust to social changes. During the Great Depression foreclosure crisis, protests like penny auctions re-created the moral economy of the 19th century Midwest: sheltering good community members from economic catastrophe, contrary to the early 20th-century farmers-as-businessperson identity which reduced all to economic production. Contemporary anti-globalization and populist movements on both the political left and right may be communities seeking to regain feelings of lost agency by attempting to embody, to re-live, utopian pasts. To rephrase the initial question: Why then, now?”

Bring your lunch and join us for this compelling and insightful talk, Friday, November 12, 12:00-1:15 pm in SCH 108. This talk is also available via Zoom. If interested, please contact for the Zoom link.