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The World the Civil War Made

The George and Ann Richards Civil War Era Center hosted a groundbreaking conference, The World the Civil War Made, on June 21-22, 2013, on Penn State’s University Park campus. The conference aimed to reexamine conventional assumptions about Reconstruction, ask new questions, and pioneer new ways to research the post-Civil War era. Presenters revisited such familiar topics as post-war federal policy and life in the New South while at the same time asking new questions and highlighting people, regions, and perspectives not usually represented in Reconstruction scholarship. Convened by Gregory Downs and Kate Masur, and featuring a keynote address by Steven Hahn, The World the Civil War Made promises to generate fresh insights into the history of Reconstruction and its legacy.

Friday, June 21: Boardroom I, The Nittany Lion Inn

TimeEvent
3:45 p.m. Registration Check-in
4:00 p.m. Welcome and Opening RemarksMichael Kulikowski, Penn State
4:15 p.m.

Panel 1 – Reconsidering Freedom

  • Introduction: Amy Greenberg, Penn State
  • Stacey Smith, Oregon State University, Emancipating Peons, Excluding Coolies: The American West and the Postwar Meaning of the Thirteenth Amendment
  • Crystal Feimster, Yale University, Defining Freedom: Mutiny and Rape at Fort Jackson, LA
  • Amy Dru Stanley, The University of Chicago, A Reconstruction of Human Rights: Happiness and the Negation of Chattel Slavery
  • Moderator: Kate Masur, Northwestern University
6:00 p.m.

Keynote Address

  • Introduction: William Blair, Penn State
  • Keynote Address: Steven Hahn, University of Pennsylvania, The World the Civil War Made, or Maybe Didn't 

Saturday, June 22: Boardroom I, The Nittany Lion Inn

TimeEvent
8:00 a.m. Registration Check-in
8:15 a.m. Opening RemarksWilliam Blair, Penn State
8:30 a.m. 

Panel 2 – Reworking the State

  • Introduction: Nan Woodruff, Penn State
  • Laura F. Edwards, Duke University, Reconstruction, Rights, and the Nation’s Legal Culture
  • Amanda Claybaugh, Harvard University,The Reconstruction Novel, Reconsidered
  • Andrew Zimmerman, The George Washington University, From the Second American Revolution to the First International and Back Again: Marx, Marxists, and the American Civil War
  • Moderator: Gregory Downs, The City College of New York
10:00 a.m.  Break
10:30 a.m. 

Panel 3 – Remaking the Nation

  • Introduction: Anthony Kaye, Penn State
  • Luke Harlow, The University of Tennessee, The Faith that Did Not Die: Reconstruction and the Long Life of Proslavery Religion
  • K. Stephen PrinceUniversity of South FloridaThe Burnt District: Southern Ruins and the Meaning of Reconstruction
  • C. Joseph Genetin-PilawaIllinois College, Ely S. Parker and the Paradox of Reconstruction Politics in Indian Country
  • Moderator: Gregory Downs, The City College of New York
12:00 noon  Buffet lunch for all conference attendees, Alumni Lounge, The Nittany Lion Inn. 
1:30 p.m. 

Panel 4 – Redefining Belonging

  • Introduction: Crystal Sanders, Penn State 
  • Kidada E. Williams, Wayne State University, The Wounds that Cried Out:Reflections on Understanding African Americans’ Suffering from Nightriding Violence
  • Stephen Kantrowitz, University of Wisconsin-MadisonCitizenship, Civilization, and the Strange Career of the "Stray Bands": How the Ho-Chunks of Wisconsin Used Reconstruction to Thwart Removal
  • Barbara Krauthamer, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Black Americans and Indian Territory: Thinking about Race, Reconstruction, and Colonialism in the West
  • Moderator: Kate Masur, Northwestern University
3:30 p.m. 

Closing Remarks: Kate Masur, Northwestern University and Gregory Downs, The City College of New York

This conference is part of the annual Steven and Janice Brose Distinguished Lecture Series and will generate a book published by the University of North Carolina Press. Also sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) We the People Challenge Grant.

Special thanks to Kate Masur, Northwestern University, and Gregory Downs, The City College of New York, who organized the conference.

See Conference participants bios