2016 Biennial Meeting

The SCWH held its biennial conference at The Chattanoogan Hotel, Chattanooga, Tennessee, on June 2-4, 2016. Two hundred thirty-five people registered for the conference, approximately the same number that have registered for previous conferences.

A. Wilson Greene, Executive Director at Pamplin Historical Park and the National Museum of the Civil War Soldier, and Jim Ogden, Chief Historian at Chickamauga Chattanooga National Military Park, led a battlefield tour Thursday afternoon for approximately 50 people. Fought in September 1863, the Battle of Chickamauga marked the only major Confederate victory in the Western Theater at the combined cost of more than 34,000 casualties. The tour covered the highlights of this three-day engagement, with special emphasis on the action on September 20, the battle’s decisive day.

Caroline Janney, SCWH president, presented Kathleen Logothetis Thompson of West Virginia University with the Outstanding Graduate Student Paper Award for her paper, “That the soldier was insane is not established”: Insanity and Suicide in Civil War Pensions. The $500 award is sponsored by the Society of Civil War Historians.

A plenary session, Teaching and Writing About Slavery, the Civil War, and Reconstruction in the 21st Century, followed a banquet dinner Thursday night. The panelists were W. Fitzhugh Brundage, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; Anne Marshall, Mississippi State University; and Kidada Williams, Wayne State University.  Judith Giesberg, Villanova University, presided over the discussion.

Graduate Student Connection Committee:

The Society sponsored a graduate student luncheon on Friday with thematic tables where grad students had the opportunity to have a frank discussion of a given topic within specific fields of Civil War historiography. Partnered with a scholar in the field, the small group of grad students worked with the faculty member to discuss great models of Civil War scholarship within their subfield, other books perhaps even outside of the Civil War Era that people find useful, how to incorporate the given theme into the classroom, and ways to pitch themselves to publishers. Faculty participants were Judkin Browning, Appalachian State University; Judy Giesberg, Villanova University; Caroline Janney, Purdue University; Brian Luskey, West Virginia University; Yael A. Sternhell, Tel Aviv University; and Elizabeth Varon, University of Virginia.

Conference closing events:

A roundtable discussion, “New Approaches to Old Questions,” with Margaret Story, DePaul University, presiding; and panelists Lorien Foote, Texas A&M University; Barton A. Myers, Washington and Lee University; Amy Murrell Taylor, University of Kentucky; and Susannah J. Ural, University of Southern Mississippi.

The Saturday afternoon roundtable “Go West, Young Historians! Expanding the Boundaries of Civil War Studies,” featured Michael Green, University of Nevada, Las Vegas; Matthew Hulbert, Kentucky Historical Society; Megan Kate Nelson,; and Kevin Waite, University of Pennsylvania.

The final roundtable of the conference was chaired by Brian Jordan, Sam Houston State University, and was titled, “New Perspectives on the Gettysburg Campaign.” It featured panelists David Silkenat, University of Edinburgh; Hilary N. Green, University of Alabama; Timothy Orr, Old Dominion University; and commentator Chris Gwinn, Gettysburg National Military Park.

During the closing reception, Daniel Sutherland was introduced as SCWH president, and he led the conference in thanking outgoing president Caroline Janney for her service to the Society.


2014 Biennial Meeting

The SCWH held its biennial conference at the Sheraton Inner Harbor, Baltimore, Maryland, on June 12-14, 2014. Two hundred-thirty people registered for the conference, approximately the same number that registered for the previous conference in Lexington, Kentucky. The Maryland Historical Society in Baltimore graciously offered free admission to its museum and library for all Society conference attendees.

The conference opened Thursday with a plenary session titled Dwelling in the Archives. The panel discussed the nature of archival research and the opportunities and challenges presented by the ongoing digitization of archival materials. Stephen Berry, University of Georgia, moderated the session, which included Jennifer Morgan, New York University; Seth Rockman, Brown University; Jim Downs, Connecticut College; and Yael Sternhell, Tel Aviv University.

On Friday, Megan Kate Nelson, Brown University, chaired a discussion of the depictions of slavery in cinema, particularly recent films like Twelve Years a Slave and Django Unchained. The panel featured Catherine Clinton, Queen’s University Belfast; John Inscoe, University of Georgia; and Brenda E. Stevenson, University of California, Los Angeles. A crew from CSPAN filmed the session for later broadcast on their American History TV program. Also on Friday, the Society of Military Historians sponsored a roundtable discussion, Teaching the New Military History. The panel was presided over by Susannah J. Ural, University of Southern Mississippi, and included Aaron Astor, Maryville College; Judith Giesberg, Villanova University; SCWH president-elect Daniel Sutherland, University of Arkansas; and Amy Murrell Taylor, University of Kentucky.

The conference’s sessions closed Saturday afternoon with Waging Peace, a roundtable that assessed the state and future of Reconstruction scholarship. Participants included Edward L. Ayers, University of Richmond; Joseph G. Dawson, III, Texas A & M University; Sarah E. Gardner, Mercer University; Margaret M. Storey, DePaul University, Frank J. Wetta, Kean University; and George Rable, University of Alabama, who presided over the panel. The society hosted a reception at the conclusion of the panel. During the reception, Megan Kate Nelson thanked outgoing president Anne Rubin for her service and efforts in helping to organize a successful conference.

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