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W&M to host Civil War signature conference in April

The Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission, in conjunction with William & Mary, will host “The American Civil War at Home” on April 20, 2013. There will be two panel discussions featuring some of the nation’s most prominent Civil War experts.

The program, the fifth in a series of seven conferences sponsored by the Commonwealth’s American Civil War Commission, is open to the public. To register, go to or phone (804) 786-3591. The conference is $15; conference and lunch costs $25.

Convened by W&M professors Scott Reynolds Nelson and Carol Sheriff, historians of 19th-century America, the conference will focus on two main topics: the limits of emancipation and internal dissent in the Confederacy and the Union.

Eric Foner, DeWitt Clinton Professor of History at Columbia University, will open the conference with a presentation on his book, “The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery,” which won Pulitzer, Bancroft and Lincoln prizes.

The interactive program will showcase historians from diverse perspectives. The panelists for session one, “Emancipation and Its Limits,” are recognized educators, authors and scholars of emancipation, the American South and the Civil War.

Thavolia Glymph, Duke University

Thavolia GlymphAn associate professor of history and African and African American studies, she teaches courses on slavery, the U.S. South, emancipation, reconstruction and African-American women’s history. She is the author of “Out of the House of Bondage: The Transformation of the Plantation Household” and a co-editor of two volumes of “Freedom: A Documentary History of Emancipation, 1861-1867.” She is currently completing “Women at War,” a study of women in the Civil War.

Robert F. Engs, University of Pennsylvania

His primary teaching areas at both the graduate and undergraduate levels are: Robert EngsAfrican-American history, U.S. Civil War and reconstruction and history of the U.S. South. Engs' research focuses on the postbellum era, specifically the responses of freed people and white Southerners to emancipation. His first two books, “Freedom's First Generation: Black Hampton, Va., 1861-1890” and “Educating the Disfranchised and Disinherited; Samuel Chapman Armstrong and Hampton Institute, 1839-1893” reflect that focus.

Stephen Kantrowitz, University of Wisconsin

Stephen Kantrowitz

His research and teaching center on the ways Americans understood and experienced slavery and emancipation, in particular, issues of political activity, racial ideology and racial conflict, and the ways politics and race have been gendered. After a decade of research, he produced "Ben Tillman and the Reconstruction of White Supremacy." His most recent book is "More than Freedom: Fighting for Black Citizenship in a White Republic, 1829-1889."

The panelists for session two, “Internal Dissent in the Confederacy and the Union,” are renowned educators, authors and scholars of the American Civil War home front, North and South.

Stephanie McCurry, University of Pennsylvania

Stephanie McCurry

McCurry specializes in 19th century American history, with a focus on the American South and the Civil War era and the history of women and gender. McCurry is the author of “Masters of Small Worlds: Yeoman Households and the Political Culture of the Antebellum South Carolina Low Country,” which received the John Hope Franklin Prize of the American Studies Association and the Charles Sydnor Award of the Southern Historical Association. Her latest book, “Confederate Reckoning: Power and Politics in the Civil War South,” was published in 2010.

Stephen Ash, University of Tennessee

Stephen AshMost of Ash's research has dealt with the Civil War and reconstruction. Among his numerous books are "The Black Experience in the Civil War South," "Firebrand of Liberty: The Story of Two Black Regiments that Changed the Course of the Civil War," and "A Year in the South: 1865: The True Story of Four Ordinary People Who Lived Through the Most Tumultuous Twelve Months on American History."

Matthew Gallman, University of Florida

Matthew Gallman

He joined the University of Flordia Department of History in 2003 after teaching at Loyola College, Gettysburg College and Occidental College. Among his books are "Mastering Wartime: A Social History of Philadelphia During the Civil War" and "The North Fights the Civil War: The Home Front." He is currently working on a study of political rhetoric and satire in the North during the Civil War.

The Virginia Sesquincentennial of the American Civil War Commission was created by the General Assembly in 2006 and charged with the planning of commemorative activities for the 150th anniversary of the Civil War and Emancipation in Virginia. Commission programs and events are designed to be accessible to all Virginians and to sustain a legacy for future generations. The commission is led by William J. Howell, speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates.