UVA’s John L. Nau III Center For Civil War Studies Opens Today

Later today the University of Virginia’s new Civil War center will open with an inaugural event that will feature Gary Gallagher, Elizabeth Varon, Thavolia Glymph, and Ed Ayers in a roundtable discussion about the state of the field of Civil War history. The center is being funded with a grant from John L. Nau III, who is also the benefactor behind Gallagher’s endowed chair and the center’s director.

As part of their publicity for today’s big event the university interviewed Gallagher about his thirty years of teaching. Student reflections about Gallagher’s talent as a lecturer and teacher resonate with what I heard from a number of my own former high school students in Charlottesville, who went on to take his classes.

The center will also fund a book prize with a cash award of $25,000 for “scholarship devoted to the war itself.” It’s safe to say that this focus reflects Gallagher’s recent reflections about the state of Civil War military history. Two digital history projects, one on POWs and the other on Virginians who served in the Union army, are in progress. It looks like the center is going to be quite active for the foreseeable future.

It’s hard to deny that some of the most talented and productive Civil War historians have come out of UVA’s program. It seems fitting that a center devoted to the Civil War should be located there to encourage the next generation of scholars and to engage in public outreach.

5 comments… add one
  • A few years back, during a visit to Charlottesville, Gary was kind enough to allow me to sit in on a session of his Civil War class. (Yes, it was at 8:00 a.m. and I felt truly hard-core. Even wore my University of Washington shirt.) It was as enjoyable as I hoped it would be – he’s the kind of lecturer I wish I had had for all my classes years ago. The only negative was the student in front of me who was watching some website on her laptop. All I could think of was “Don’t you realize what you’re missing? And how fortunate you are to be in this historian’s class?”
    But all in all a truly memorable experience.

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  • Gosh, I’d like to hear that discussion. I admire the participants’ work so much. Any chance of a follow-up link, Kevin?

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  • I emailed U Va and asked if session was video’d or online. Answer was No.

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    • Thanks for following up, Rosieo, even though the answer was disappointing.

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  • T’was a bummer. Hard to believe they didnt record it but I do notice the recent Gary Gallagher talk on Miller Center website has some glitches – cuts out and such. So maybe U Va has tech issues…… tho that’s hard to believe, too…..
    ah, well.

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