Michael J. Lansing was born and raised in the Twin Cities. A historian of the modern United States, his research focuses on the North American West, political history, environmental history, and gender history. He has received fellowships and awards for his work from the Newberry Library, the Western History Association, the Midwestern History Association, the Montana Historical Society, and the Utah State Historical Society.
Michael’s current project is The Cradle of Carbohydrates: Minneapolis and the Making of the World’s Food, an environmental and urban history of the city’s central role in the creation and propagation of carbohydrate-rich processed and packaged foods.His books include Insurgent Democracy: The Nonpartisan League in North American Politics (University of Chicago Press, 2015) and the co-authored The American West: A Concise History (Wiley-Blackwell, 2008). His articles have appeared in the Western Historical Quarterly, Environmental History, the Journal of Historical Geography, the Middle West Review, the Utah Historical Quarterly, and Ethics, Place, and Environment.
At Augsburg, he teaches introductory courses in U.S. and Latin American history, as well as upper-level courses on the North American West, U.S. environmental history, popular politics, and public history. Firmly committed to interdisciplinary endeavors, he is a participating faculty member in the Women’s Studies and Environmental Studies programs. Before arriving at Augsburg in 2005, he taught at Utah State University and the State University of New York at Buffalo, and served as visiting assistant editor at the Western Historical Quarterly.
As a proponent of participatory democratic work, Michael remains an active public historian. His many experiences include an oral history project with the Minnesota chapter of the Sierra Club, a congregational history, and bringing the Historyapolis Project to Augsburg.
The son of a public school teacher, he is especially committed to improving history pedagogies. Michael spent two years on the staff of the National History Day in Minnesota program (1999-2001) and served as the academic lead on a Teaching American History grant that served teachers in northern Minnesota (2008-2011). He also collaborated with K-5 educators in the Anoka-Hennepin (MN) School District to expand the use of inquiry-based approaches in social studies classrooms (2010-2013). In a similar vein, he participated in the American Historical Association’s Tuning Project—a national effort to identify and frame common goals for post-secondary history education (2012-2014). Currently, Michael serves as Augsburg’s social studies content advisor for secondary education majors at the college.
Michael is a member of the American Historical Association, the Organization of American Historians, the Western History Association, the American Society for Environmental History, the National Council on Public History, the Coalition for Western Women’s History, the Minnesota Historical Society, and the American Association of University Professors.
- A.B. College of William & Mary
- M.A. Utah State University
- Ph.D. University of Minnesota