George and Ann RichardsCivil War Era Center

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Steven and Janice Brose Distinguished Lecture Series
Steven and Janice Brose Distinguished Lecture Series

Steven and Janice Brose Distinguished Lecture Series

April 18, 2024

Dr. Thavolia Glymph, Peabody Family Distinguished Professor of History and Professor of Law at Duke University, will deliver three lectures on “Playing ‘Dixie’ in Egypt: A Transnational Transcript of Race, Nation, Empire and Citizenship,” for the Steven and Janice Brose Distinguished Lecture Series. Taking place on April 18, 19, and 20, the lectures are free and open to the public. This lecture series is sponsored by the George and Ann Richards Civil War Era Center at Penn State through the generosity of an endowment by Steven and Janice Brose and cosponsored by the Penn State University Libraries.

Dr. Glymph’s lectures are a study of white Union and Confederate soldiers who joined the Egyptian army of the Khedive Isma’il after the Civil War. It explores why they left the U.S. to become mercenaries of a foreign army and, more centrally, the part they played in making and transcribing notions of race, citizenship, nation, and empire globally and at home. In Egypt, the American Civil War veterans joined an international force of mercenaries, diplomats, explorers, antiquities seekers, journalists, representatives of geographical societies, arms dealers, and tourists, many of whom, like them, were engaged in the fight against the imagined “horrors of racial equality.” In this work, they had the support of the U.S. government—from the White House to Congress and the U.S. Army—and the applause of their communities. When the last of them returned home, Reconstruction was over, and they could say they had played a part in its overthrow.

The schedule is as follows:

  • Thursday, April 18, at 5 p.m., Foster Auditorium, 102 Paterno Library: “’I am not going into the wilds of Africa’: Race and Nation in the Imagination of U.S. Civil War Veterans in Egypt”
  • Friday, April 19, at 5 p.m., Foster Auditorium, 102 Paterno Library: Playing ‘Dixie’ in the Wilds of Africa”
  • Saturday, April 20, at 11:30 a.m., Foster Auditorium, 102 Paterno Library: Egypt in the American Imaginary and the Making of an American Archive of Race and Nation”

Glymph’s research and teaching explores the history of slavery and plantation economies, the U.S. Civil War, emancipation and Reconstruction. She is the author of the multiple award-winning book, “The Women’s Fight: The Civil War’s Battles for Home, Freedom, and Nation” (University of North Carolina Press, 2020); and “Out of the House of Bondage: The Transformation of the Plantation Household” (Cambridge University Press, 2008), which won the 2009 Philip Taft Book Prize and was a finalist for the Frederick Douglass Prize. She also co-edited two volumes of the prize-winning documentary series, “Freedom: A Documentary History of Emancipation, 1861-1867,” and has written numerous articles and essays, including the award-winning article “Rose’s War and the Gendered Politics of Slave Insurgency in the Civil War,” which received the George and Ann Richards Prize for the best article published in the Journal of the Civil War Era in 2013.

Glymph is president-elect of the American Historical Association, holder of the 2023-24 Rogers Distinguished Fellowship in Nineteenth Century History at the Huntington Library, and past president of the Southern Historical Association. She is also an Organization of American Historians Distinguished Lecturer and an elected member of the Society of American Historians, the American Antiquarian Society and the Gettysburg Foundation Board of Directors. She has also been a historical consultant to several prominent national museums and historical centers and has also consulted on films such as “Harriet” and “Mercy Street.”

Read more about the Brose Lectures