Distinguished Historian David Blight to Lead Seminar on the Civil War in American Memory

American History seminar brochure coverAfter a white nationalist rally opposing the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville, Virginia, turned violent this past August, the debate over Confederate monuments and how to remember the Civil War has intensified across the nation including on many campuses. As a result, historians and other faculty members increasingly have been called upon to weigh in as experts and resources on the matter.

CIC is pleased to announce that one of the foremost scholars on the subject, David Blight, will lead a faculty seminar on “The Civil War in American Memory” at Yale University, June 10–14, 2018. Blight is 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. He is the author of Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory (2002) and American Oracle: The Civil War in the Civil Rights Era (2013), among other titles, and has been quoted frequently on the subject lately in the New Yorker, Boston Globe, and New York Times. Blight has led or co-led many seminars for CIC faculty members on slave narratives and the scholarship and public history of slavery.

Co-sponsored by CIC and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, this seminar will assess the historical memory of the most divisive event in American history—the Civil War. Seminar participants will consider secondary works on Civil War memory, discuss theoretical texts on the nature and significance of collective memory across time and cultures, and dive deeply into three anniversary moments: the 50th (1911–1915); the 100th (1961–1965); and the 150th (2011–2015). The seminar also will consider the recent and current crises and debates over Civil War monuments and symbols from the 2015 massacre in Charleston, South Carolina, to the recent protests and violence in Charlottesville, and beyond. The seminar will provide a forum in which participants can examine the reasons why slavery, the Civil War, and the Reconstruction epoch has remained an unending dilemma in American historical consciousness.

Up to 25 full-time faculty members in history and related fields at CIC member institutions will be selected for participation. A faculty member who wishes to participate must be nominated by the chief academic officer of the nominee’s institution. The nomination deadline is January 26, 2018. Room, board, and books will be covered by a generous grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. For questions about the seminar or the nomination process, visit the program website or contact Stephen Gibson, CIC's director of programs, at (202) 466-7230 or sgibson@cic.nche.edu.