George and Ann RichardsCivil War Era Center

Colored Conventions
The Brose Distinguished Lecture Series

The Brose Distinguished Lecture Series

The 2021 Steven and Janice Brose Distinguished Lecture Series

Dr. Sarah E. Gardner, Distinguished University Professor of History at Mercer University

All talks will be held virtually via Zoom and the total number of attendees will be limited. Please register here by indicating which lecture(s) you will attend. You will receive a Zoom link for each lecture on the morning of the talk.
  • Thursday, October 14, 5:30 p.m.: Political Speech and the Rhetoric of War
  • Friday, October 15, 5:30 p.m.:  Shakespeare at War
  • Saturday, October 16, 4:00 p.m.: National Identity and Cultural Affinity 

Shakespeare Fights the Civil War

These lectures examine how warring parties engaged Shakespeare during America’s deadliest conflict. Shakespeare spoke to the cultural and political moment like no other figure. Macbeth and Julius Caesar had something to say about tyranny. The Tempest and Richard II offered a meditation on usurpation. And Henry V and Richard III told of war and its effects on those who waged it. What’s more, Shakespeare played a critical role in the nationalist strivings of both the Union and the Confederacy. Just as each warring party posited itself as the rightful inheritor of the Founding Fathers’ vision, both harkened back to Shakespeare in a similar fashion and for similar reasons. Finally, Civil War-era Americans also turned to Shakespeare for universal truths. Shakespeare, they believed, spoke to abiding concerns, such as the soul of genius, the power of the imagination, and of the heroic individual’s ability to determine an event’s outcome. By elucidating how Unionists and Confederates interpreted Shakespeare and, in turn, how Shakespeare shaped their understanding of war, these lectures reveal how the war’s participants turned to Shakespeare to articulate and justify what they thought and felt about the war and its attendant consequences.

Lectures are sponsored by the George and Ann Richards Civil War Era Center and co-sponsored by University Libraries.

About Dr. Gardner

Dr. GardnerDr. Sarah E. Gardner is Distinguished University Professor of History at Mercer University, Macon, Georgia. Her work focuses on the cultural and intellectual history the Civil War era through the early decades of the twentieth century. She is the author of Blood and Irony: Southern White Women’s Narratives of the Civil War, 1861-1937 and Reviewing the South: The Literary Marketplace and the Southern Renaissance, 1920-1941. Most recently she has co-edited with Natalie J. Ring, The Lost Lectures of C. Vann Woodward and, with Steven M. Stowe, Insiders, Outsiders: Toward a New History of Southern Thought.

About the Broses

Janice and Steve Brose Steven H. Brose is a 1969 honors graduate in political science from Penn State and earned an M.A. in history from George Washington University in 2013. He received his J.D. from Columbia Law School and has spent his legal career with the international firm Steptoe & Johnson in Washington, D.C. His practice focuses on federal regulation of the energy industry, with emphasis on transportation issues for companies throughout the United States and Canada. He has served as an adviser to the governments of Ecuador and the Republic of Georgia and assisted the World Bank in its effort to open the Russian oil pipeline network to foreign investment and access. Steve is the 2004 recipient of the Service to Penn State Award from the College of the Liberal Arts Alumni Society and was designated a Centennial Fellow at the 2009 Centennial Celebration of the College of the Liberal Arts. In 2014, he was named a Penn State Distinguished Alumnus. He is a former chair of the college’s Development Council.

Janice Brose attended Penn State for two years before earning a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from The City College of New York. She later received an associate degree in nursing with certifications in Rehabilitation Nursing and Case Management. She is an avid birder and fond grandmother of three grandsons, one granddaughter, and two cats.

In 2019, Steve and Janice received the Chaiken Leadership Award from the College of the Liberal Arts.

About the Lectures

The Steven and Janice Brose Distinguished Lecture and Book Series in the Richards Civil War Era Center was established in 1998 and originally supported a single lecture by a distinguished visitor. The Broses added to the endowment in 2001, allowing a distinguished lecturer to deliver three related lectures over three days. The Broses’ generosity also enabled the Richards Center to enter an agreement with the University of North Carolina Press, which publishes the lectures as part of a series of scholarly monographs with Richard Center Director William Blair serving as series editor.

In order to share this work with the public and the greater academic community, the Richards Civil War Era Center has partnered with the University of North Carolina Press to publish expanded versions of these talks. Richards Center Director Emeritus William Blair serves as series editor.