On August 19 Judge Martin Clark removed Stuart’s portrait from Patrick County, Virginia’s Circuit Court courtroom. Yesterday he offered a lengthy explanation for his actions and is well worth reading. On a side note, if I were teaching my Civil War memory class this year my students would be reading and discussing this document. It raises a number of relevant questions about the intersection of history, public memory and justice. Continue reading “Portrait of J.E.B. Stuart Removed From Courtroom in Virginia”
For much of my teaching career I have worked to achieve some level of gender equity in the books and articles that I assign my students to read. This has been especially the case in the many elective classes that I have taught on the Civil War era. My overall goal has been to challenge both the tendency to see the Civil War as a masculine subject and the historians and enthusiasts that it attracts as overwhelmingly male. This goes far in tearing down some of the barriers that prevent female students from fully embracing the subject as their own and one that is worthy of serious study.
It should come as no surprise that this outlook helped to shape the reading list for my research seminar at the AAS, which begins next week. Of the six books that I ordered three are authored by women. This past spring Joseph Adelman reflected on similar concerns regarding his reading list for a course on the American Revolution, only he took it a step further. He wondered whether the reading list for an entire undergraduate course on the Revolution could be filled with books by female authors. I didn’t find the results particularly shocking, but it was certainly worth the effort if only to visualize it for the sake of discussion. Continue reading “Approaching Gender Equity in Your Civil War Reading List”
On September 7 PBS will broadcast Ken Burns’s The Civil War on what will be the 25th anniversary of its release. Burns hopes that the re-packaging of the series in ultra high-definition will attract a new crowd. We shall see.
Recently, Burns was interviewed about the anniversary of the series on CBS’s Face the Nation. He was asked about recent polls that continue to point to the percentage of Americans who do not identify slavery as the central cause of the war or its role in shaping the war’s outcome. Burns points to movies such as Birth of a Nation and Gone With the Wind as continuing to shape our memory of the war and the antebellum period. Certainly these movies influenced the viewing public at some point, but it’s difficult to believe that they remain relevant.
Burns would do well to look more closely at his own documentary for a better sense of why Americans continue to struggle to fully grasp the centrality of slavery to the Civil War. Continue reading “The Split Personality of Ken Burns’s “The Civil War””
Although it was organized last minute, I thought some of you would like to know that I will be co-moderating a discussion on the ongoing controversy surrounding Confederate iconography at the annual meeting of the American Association for State and Local History in Louisville, Kentucky next month. The other moderator for this discussion will be Bob Beatty, who is the chief operating officer for the AASLH. A few years ago I took part in an AASLH roundtable discussion on the Civil War sesquicentennial and had a wonderful time. Continue reading “Discussing Confederate Iconography at Annual Meeting of AASLH”
I am in the process of finalizing my syllabus for the research seminar that I will be teaching his fall at the American Antiquarian Society. You can read the course description here. I finalized the reading list, which will include the following titles:
- Louis Masur, The Civil War: A Concise History (Oxford University Press)
- Gary Gallagher, The Union War (Harvard University Press)
- Drew Gilpin Faust, This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War (Vintage)
- Janette Thomas Greenwood, First Fruits of Freedom: The Migration of Former Slaves and Their Search for Equality in Worcester, Massachusetts, 1862-1900 (University of North Carolina Press)
- James McPherson, For Cause and Comrades: Why Men Fought in the Civil War (Oxford University Press)
- Judith Giesberg, Army at Home: Women and the Civil War on the Northern Home Front (University of North Carolina Press)
- Brian Matthew Jordan, Marching Home: Union Veterans and Their Unending Civil War (Liveright)
The seminar is designed to give students the opportunity to research a topic using the rich collections of the AAS. Continue reading “Do the Archives Matter in the Digital Age?”