Why Memory?

I am sometimes asked to explain my fascination with the study of Civil War memory. It comes down to an interest in how and why we form national narratives. There is an interesting psychological element in this that seems to have much in common with how each of us forms our own self-narratives. We are Read more

“What A Drag It Is Getting Old”

Well, my fall semester Civil War class is slowly winding down. Students are working to complete their research projects and I continue to deal with various stages of senioritis (most of my students in this class are seniors). That said, I am pleased with their progress. The other day we had a wonderful discussion that Read more

Is Heritage History? – Part 2

Just a few follow-up thoughts to some of the comments from yesterday’s post. I am struck by the tendency on the part of some who equate southern history with white southern history. This is precisely where much of the tension lay in the debate over the renaming of various public spaces in the South. I Read more

Is Heritage History?

Let me start out by saying that I expect to be bulldozed in responses to this post. I recently attended a roundtable discussion hosted by the University of Richmond and the Museum of the Confederacy. The topic was “The Confederacy in the 21st Century” and the participants included a representative from the Sons of Confederate Read more

Valley of the Shadow

No doubt many of you are familiar with the Valley of the Shadow, which is an online database created by Edward L. Ayers and maintained by the University of Virginia’s, Center For Digital History. The site is essentially an online archive that compares two Shenandoah Valley counties in the years leading up to and through Read more

Civil War 101 — Day 2

Just one more comment regarding the silliness that is masquerading as serious Civil War debate over in the Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. One of the most common arguments (if one can call it a formal argument) is to assert that because my great grandfather fought in the Civil War and he was not a slave owner Read more

Civil War 101

I decided to follow up Thursday’s post on the debate in the Fredericksburg paper regarding the cause of the war. This is a great example of the sloppiness that passes for serious debate among Civil War enthusiasts. I mentioned in that previous post the utter failure even to distinguish between the cause of secession and Read more

What Caused the War? [ad nauseum]

Over on you will find a link to the recent debate in the Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star on the cause of the war. You will find on both sides of the debate the most absurd and uninformed arguments ever collected. I am not for a minute going to try to answer the question of what caused Read more