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Minnesota State University, Mankato
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Feb. 18: 'Insurgent Democracy: New Visions of the Nonpartisan League' is History Lecture Topic

Augsburg College Associate Professor Michael Lansing is guest speaker.

Minnesota State University, Mankato Media Relations Office News Release, 2-12-2016

Mankato, Minn. – Augsburg College Associate Professor Michael Lansing will discuss “Insurgent Democracy: New Visions of the Nonpartisan League” on Thursday, Feb. 18 at 4 p.m. in Minnesota State University, Mankato’s Centennial Student Union (Room 201) in spring History Forum lecture.

Lansing’s presentation is free and open to the public, and refreshments will be served.

In his presentation, Lansing will discuss how, in 1915, western farmers mounted one of the most significant challenges to party politics American has seen: the Nonpartisan League, which sought to empower citizens and restrain corporate influence. Before its collapse in the 1920s, the League counted over 250,000 paying members, spread to 13 states and two Canadian provinces, controlled North Dakota’s state government and birthed new farmer-labor alliances. Yet today, the League is all but forgotten, neglected even by scholars, according to Lansing.

In his book, “Insurgent Democracy,” Lansing aims to change that. His book offers a new look at the Nonpartisan League and a new way to understand its rise and fall in the United States and Canada. Lansing argues that, rather than a spasm of populist rage that inevitably burned itself out, the story of the League is in fact an instructive example of how popular movements can create lasting change. Depicting the league as a transnational response to economic inequity, Lansing not only resurrects its story of citizen activism, but also allows us to see its potential to inform contemporary movements.

This event is sponsored by Minnesota State Mankato’s Department of History, which is part of the University’s College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. Those who want more information about the lecture may contact the Department of History by phone at 507-389-1618 or send an email to Cretia Welborn at

The History Forum Lecture Series is an opportunity for faculty, students, staff and community members to learn about the latest historical research from local and regional scholars. The History Forum Lecture is presented twice a year, once in the fall and again in the spring.

Minnesota State Mankato, a comprehensive university with 15,193 students, is part of the Minnesota State Colleges & Universities system, which comprises 31 state institutions.

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