It’s good to be home after a week in Germany. We enjoyed temperatures in the low 80’s so you can imagine how miserable I was upon stepping out of Dulles International and into the mid 90’s.
Today I received the confirmation for my roundtable session at the January 2007 meeting of the American Historical Association in Atlanta. I took part in last year’s meeting in Philadelphia and had a great time, although the offerings in the areas of the Civil War and Southern history are limited. This will be my first roundtable format and I am really looking forward to it given my complaints about the traditional panel format. All too often the panel format has turned out to be a disappointment. You can’t count on an audience of sufficient size showing up and often the question and answer period fails to address the salient issues contained in the papers. I like the idea of making papers available on-line before the start of a conference as this at least makes it more likely that attendees will take the time to read them before showing up for the session and thus making for a more fruitful exchange of ideas.
The panel that I will be taking part in is titled: "Soldiers, Citizens, and Sources: The Uses of Civil War Soldiers in Writing U.S. History." All of the participants contributed an essay to the forthcoming book, The View From the Ground: The Experiences of Civil War Soldiers which is now set for release in December. I was under the impression that it would be out in September, but I guess there were some delays. Anyway, there are five participants and each of us will share a few remarks about our specific contribution to the volume and our approach to interpreting Civil War soldiers. It’s a talented group of historians and the format will hopefully generate an interesting exchange with the audience. I like the idea of not having to worry about presenting a long and boring paper that only a few in the audience will expend the energy to follow. Here are the participants: