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Panel of National Historians to Discuss How America Still is Affected by the Civil War

Publication Date: 3/9/2010

Five of the nation’s leading historians and authors will discuss the unfolding legacies of the Civil War era on March 25 at Rhodes College. The panel has been assembled in conjunction with St. George’s Independent School’s 50th Anniversary Education Symposium also held on the Rhodes campus. Free and open to the public, the panel discussion begins at 7 p.m. in the McCallum Ballroom of the Bryan Campus Life Center. A reception and book signing will follow.

Dr. Timothy Huebner, professor and chair of Rhodes’ Department of History, organized the panel and will serve as moderator. “In the aftermath of the Civil War, northerners built an urban-industrial order that helped the U.S. emerge as one of the world’s great powers, southerners struggled to remake their society while preserving their regional identity, and freed African Americans strived to protect the liberties that had gained during the crucible of war and reconstruction,” he says. “The Civil War, in short, dramatically altered the social, economic, political, and cultural fabric of the United States in ways that continue to be felt today.”

The following individuals, all history professors, will participate on the panel:

Dr. Edward Ayers, who also is president of the University of Richmond, is author of numerous books on the history of the Civil War and the American South.  His works include The Promise of the New South: Life After Reconstruction, a finalist for both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. He created The Valley of the Shadow: Two Communities in the American Civil War, a Web site that has attracted millions of users and won major prizes in the teaching of history. Named National Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching in 2003, Ayers also has served on the National Council on the Humanities and American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Dr. Nancy Bercaw of the University of Mississippi focuses her research on race, gender, and the South in the 19th-century. She has been a Smithsonian Institution Senior Scholar and is the author of Gendered Freedoms: Race, Rights, and the Politics of the Household in the Mississippi Delta 1861-1875.  She is an editor of The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture that brings together scholarship on gender, sexuality, labor, race, and politics. Topical entries highlight individuals such as Oprah Winfrey and the Grimke sisters, as well as historical events such as the "I AM A MAN” slogan from the Memphis Sanitation Workers′ Strike.  During the early 1990s, she taught at Rhodes College.

Dr. David Blight of Yale University is author of Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory, which received eight book awards, including the Bancroft Prize, the Abraham Lincoln Prize, and the Frederick Douglass Prize. The director of Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition at Yale, he is the author of A Slave No More: Two Men Who Escaped to Freedom, Including Their Narratives of Emancipation. In 2004, the New York Times ran a front page story about the significance of the rare narratives providing insight into emancipation. Blight has written for the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, and Boston Globe and been a consultant for the PBS series, “Africans in America.”

Dr. Kenneth Goings, former director of African American Studies at The Ohio State University, focuses his research on 19th- and 20th- century African American history, historically black colleges and universities, and African American popular culture. In 2001, he was appointed a Distinguished Lecturer by the Organization of American Historians. Goings has lectured extensively on black collectibles and was interviewed about one of his collections on the “CBS Sunday Morning” show hosted by Charles Osgood. He also has taught at Rhodes and at The University of Memphis.

Dr.  John McCardell, newly-elected president of the University of the South and former president of Middlebury College, is a prolific historian specializing in the 19th-century United States. He regularly teaches a course exploring artistic, architectural, musical, and cinematic expressions of the Civil War and its meaning. In 1977, he was recognized by the Society of American Historians for the best-written dissertation on an American subject. His dissertation was later published under the title of The Idea of a Southern Nation.

The March 25th panel discussion is cosponsored by the Department of History at Rhodes, the Department of History at St. George’s Independent School, the American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar Iron Works in Richmond, Va., and the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis. Those with specific inquiries about the event can contact Dr. Timothy Huebner at  huebner@rhodes.edu or 901-843-3653.

Visit www.sgis.org for information about St. George’s Independent School’s 50th Anniversary Education Symposium titled “Cultivating Citizens: How Schools Can Promote Civic Engagement in the 21st Century.”

Tags: Events, Faculty, Lectures

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