The World the Civil War Made, a groundbreaking conference on Reconstruction, served as the 2013 Brose Lectures. The conference brought fifteen leading scholars of the Civil War era to University Park to bring fresh insights to our study of Reconstruction. Marking the 25th anniversary of the publication of Eric Foner’s trailblazing work, Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution, the conference assessed a generation of Reconstruction scholarship inspired by Foner’s book and its emphasis on the revolutionary transformations of the post-war period. By wrestling with the concepts of revolutionary change and continuity, the conference provoked well-developed debates that challenged conventional understandings of Reconstruction and its legacy, while laying out pathways for future research.
Pulitzer and Bancroft Prize winning historian Steven Hahn kicked off the conference with a keynote address that reconsidered the extent of change and the persistence of continuity occasioned by Reconstruction.
The conference participants’ revised and expanded papers subsequently appeared in The World the Civil War Made, edited by Gregory Downs and Kate Masur. The twelve essays collected in the volume explore how Reconstruction re-shaped politics and governance throughout the nation following the Civil War. The World the Civil War Made was published in September 2015 by the University of North Carolina Press as part of The Steven and Janice Brose Distinguished Lecture Book Series.