HIST 301
Approaching the Past: The American Civil War
Last Offered Spring 2019
Division II
This course is not offered in the current catalog or this is a previous listing for a current course.

Class Details

How have historians told the story of the Civil War? Even before Lee’s surrender at Appomattox Court house in the spring of 1865, historians and local communities strove to craft a coherent story of a war that left 620,000 soldiers dead and set enslaved people on a long road towards freedom. Civil War historiography has been reinvented numerous times in the last century. Biographies of Lincoln, of Generals–Union and Confederate still appear regularly. Historians of gender have tried to capture women’s and queer people’s experiences on the homefront and on the front lines. Histories of battles, of legislation, of the era’s music, literature, and art all fill rows of shelves in Sawyer. We will not attempt to “understand” the Civil War. Rather we will examine a few very different histories of the event. We will read authors who center African Americans and authors who ignore them. We will read a biography and cultural history. We’ll look at new attempts to tell local histories of the war through interactive web sites and film. We’ll also study historical re-enactors, North and South. We will end with an examination of the recent struggles over Confederate Memorials. This course will be offered online. I encourage all students to schedule one on one office hour zoom meetings with me throughout the semester.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 15
Expected: 15
Class#: 3264
Grading: no pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: Two presentations, two brief responses, one formal paper and/or a book review, and a final paper.
Prerequisites: None
Enrollment Preferences: senior History majors
Distributions: Division II

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