Spring 2011, Vol. 19, No. 2 (requires Adobe Acrobat)

pierreSesquicentennial of the U.S. Civil War:
Spring 2011 Courses and Events

April 12, 2011, will mark the 150th anniversary of the start of the U.S. Civil War. Across the country, this national anniversary will be marked in various ways by a range of interest groups. Many of the contentious topics that divided the American public in 1861 continue to trouble our nation today, including the role of race in our society, the debate between states rights and federal authority, the role of government in our daily lives, and talk of secession by various groups across the United States.

Vanderbilt University will provide a number of opportunities—through classes, public lectures, and discussion groups—for our students and our community to reflect upon the significance of this sesquicentennial anniversary. These events will allow us to engage with this seminal historical period in the development of the United States and will give our campus and our community occasions to think critically about past and current conflicts in our society.

Courses Offered

American Studies 100W. Professor of English Michael Kreyling will teach this introductory course on the theme of memory studies, focusing on Robert Penn Warren’s The Legacy of the Civil War (1961) and Warren’s novel Wilderness. Kreyling will also use various history texts, including works by C. Vann Woodward, Bruce Catton, and Shelby Foote.

American Studies 297—American Studies Senior Project. Teresa Goddu, Associate Professor of English and Director of American Studies, will focus this course on commemorations and memorializations of the U.S. Civil War, specifically in and around Nashville. The course will culminate with an American Studies Road Trip to various Civil War memorial sites in the region.

Commons Course: Black Women Freedom Fighters. Assistant Professor of History Brandi Brimmer will lead an examination of the life and labor of Callie House—an African American laundress who lived much of her life less than a mile from the Vanderbilt Commons— and the ex-slave pension movement, a poor people’s movement that sought pension from the U.S. government as compensation for slavery.

English 288-02—The American Civil War. Taught by Senior Lecturer Rory Dicker, this course will examine literature about the Civil War, including texts such as Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, John William DeForest’s Miss Ravenel’s Conversion from Secession to Loyalty, and Stephen Crane’s The Red Badge of Courage.

History of Art 295—Race, Gender, and Sexuality in 19th Century American Art. Professor Vivien Green Fryd of the History of Art department will examine ways in which gender and race are constructed in nineteenth-century American visual art and culture. Professor Fryd’s class will meet with visiting speaker Charmaine A. Nelson, who is Associate Professor of Art History at McGill University. Professor Nelson is most recently the author of The Color of Stone: Sculpting Black Female Subjects in Nineteenth-Century America (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2007) and Representing the Black Female Subject in Western Art (New York: Routledge, 2010).

Humanities 161—The American Civil War. Team-taught by Richard Blackett, Andrew Jackson Professor of History, and Michael Kreyling, Gertrude Conaway Professor of English, the course will trace the main political, social, and economic events associated with the war. A number of experts on the U.S. Civil War have been invited as guest speakers; they will also be giving lectures which will be open to the public.

Schedule of Events

Events marked with an asterisk (*) are part of the Humanities 161 lecture series and will occur at 4:10 p.m. in 101 Buttrick Hall.

Thursday, January 27
Stanley Harrold, Professor of History, South Carolina State University
Abolitionism and the Coming of the Civil War*

Wednesday, February 2
“Thinking Outside the Lunchbox,” Discussion of Robert Penn Warren’s 1961 book The Legacy of the Civil War, led by Professors Michael Kreyling and Richard Blackett, noon at the downtown Nashville Public Library. This event is sponsored by the Warren Center and the Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area Center for Historic Preservation, in conjunction with Vanderbilt’s Office of Community, Neighborhood, and Government Relations. Registrants for the luncheon are encouraged to read the volume prior to attending the lunch time conversation. More details can be found at the website:www.vanderbilt.edu/lunchbox/upcoming.html.

Tuesday, February 8
Joseph Glatthaar, Stephenson Distinguished Professor, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Why the Confederacy Lost: the Experiences of Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia*

Thursday, February 17
George Rable, Professor and Charles G. Summersell Chair in Southern History, University of Alabama
The Civil War as a Political Crisis*

Thursday, February 24
Thavolia Glymph, Associate Professor of History, Duke University
‘Disappeared Without Any Account Being Had of Them’: Enslaved Women and the Armies of the Civil War*

?Thursday, March 3
Charmaine A. Nelson, Associate Professor of Art History, McGill University
Sugar Cane, Slave and Ships: The Tropical Picturesque and Pro-Slavery Discourse in Nineteenth-Century Jamaican Landscapes
4:10 p.m., Cohen Hall 203. History of Art 295 speaker.

Thursday, March 17
Stephanie McMurry, Professor of History, University of Pennsylvania
Antigone’s Claim: Gender and Treason in the American Civil War*

Thursday, March 24
2010/2011 Harry Howard Jr. Lecture
David Blight,
Class of 1954 Professor of American History and Director of the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition at Yale University
Gods and Devils Aplenty: Robert Penn Warren’s Civil War
4:10 p.m., location to be announced. See Letters article on page 9.

Thursday, April 7
Bobby Lovett, Professor of History, Tennessee State University
Nashville and the Civil War, 1860–1866 and the Economic, Social and Political Transformations*

Thursday, April 21
Stephen Ash, Professor of History, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
William G. Brownlow, Saint or Sinner? A Fresh Look at One of Tennessee’s Most Controversial Civil War Figures*

The Program in American Studies and the Warren Center plan to host a roundtable discussion late in the spring term on issues related to secessionist movements across multiple time spans and geographical and cultural locations. More details on this roundtable will be announced soon.

Letters Archive Index

For more information, contact the Center's executive director, Mona C. Frederick.

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