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The Brose Distinguished Lecture Series

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 William Blair serves as series editor.

The 2019 Steven and Janice Brose Distinguished Lecture Series


October 24-26, 2019

Civilization and Savagery in the American Civil War: Retaliation and the Conduct of Campaigns


Lorien FooteDr. Lorien Foote, Patricia & Bookman Peters Professor in History at Texas A&M University, will deliver the 2019 Steven and Janice Brose Distinguished Lecture Series. The lectures, titled Civilization and Savagery in the American Civil War: Retaliation and the Conduct of Campaigns, will take place on October 24, 25, and 26, in 108 Chambers Building, Penn State, University Park. The lectures are 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. They are free and open to the public.

Civilization and Savagery in the American Civil War: Retaliation and the Conduct of Campaigns

Every military campaign of the American Civil War included a ritual of retaliation. In these incidents, a commander charged his opponent with violating the customs of civilized warfare among western nations. He wrote his enemy with the accusation and gave him a certain number of days to respond to the allegations – to either disprove them or demonstrate that such behavior did not have the official sanction of the government. The commander stated that if a satisfactory response was not received, he would retaliate. Often the threatened retaliation was to execute prisoners of war that had been set aside for the purpose.  The usual response from the opponent was either to deny the allegations or to claim that the actions taken were consistent with the customs of civilized war, and then to announce that prisoners of war had been set aside for execution in case the threatened retaliation was carried out. During these negotiations, military commanders, and often the Lincoln and Davis administrations, staked out positions on points of contention between the combatants and drew the lines that they believed should not be crossed in civilized warfare.  What is striking about these incidents is that they often resulted in alterations to policy and practice. Retaliation shaped how the Union and the Confederacy conducted their military campaigns, yet there is no scholarly study of the practice. The Brose Lectures will use the rituals of retaliation to help the audience understand the cultural construct of civilization in the 19th Century and its relationship to military practice in the Civil War.

Lectures are free and open to the public. 

About Dr. Foote

Dr. Foote is the Patricia & Bookman Peters Professor in History at Texas A&M University. She is the author of four books on the American Civil War and numerous articles and essays. Her books include The Yankee Plague: Escaped Union Prisoners and the Collapse of the Confederacy (2016), which was a 2017 Choice Outstanding Academic Title, and The Gentlemen and the Roughs: Manhood, Honor, and Violence in the Union Army (2010), which was a finalist and Honorable Mention for the 2011 Lincoln Prize.  Her digital humanities project, which is mapping the escape and movement of 3000 Federal prisoners of war, can be explored on-line at She is the co-editor, along with Earl J. Hess, of the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of the Civil War.   

About the Broses

Janice and Steve BroseSteven H. Brose is a 1969 honors graduate in political science from Penn State and in 2013 earned a Masters Degree in history from George Washington University. He received a law degree from Columbia University and has spent his legal career with the international law firm of Steptoe & Johnson in Washington, D.C., where he heads the Regulatory and Industry Affairs Department. His practice focuses on federal regulation of the energy industry, with particular 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 Liberal Arts Alumni Society and was designated a Centennial Fellow at the 2009 Centennial Celebration of the College of the Liberal Arts.  He recently finished serving as chair of the College's Development Council.

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

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.