Begun in 1998 with funding from the Henry R. Luce Foundation, the Civil War Era Studies department oversees two interdisciplinary academic programs on the Civil War era: the Civil War Era Studies minor and The Gettysburg Semester. The Civil War Era Studies Minor is an interdisciplinary program concentrating on mid-nineteenth century America and on the period's enduring importance for modern America.
Six course credits are required, including Civil War Era Studies 205. The remaining five courses may be selected from the CWES cross-listed elective courses. One elective must be from a department outside of CWES. Students must take one additional CWES designated course beyond CWES 205. Students may receive credit for an independent study or internship as part of their course of study through the approval of the program director.
Introduction to the American Civil War Era
Interdisciplinary introduction to the Civil War Era (roughly 1848-1877) in American history. Student is introduced to the basic history of the Civil War, with an emphasis on the fundamental causes of the war, the war years themselves, both at home and on the battlefield, and Reconstruction period. Assigned readings include a mix of primary sources and a basic survey text. History majors may count CWES 205 as a major course.
Introduction to War Studies
This course introduces students to the study of warfare from an interdisciplinary context. Students will approach the subject of war through five distinct perspectives: the philosophy of war; the history of war; the experience of war; war, culture, and society; and the memory of war. The overall goal of the class for students to develop a sophisticated approach to the study of war through an interdisciplinary way of analyzing conflicts both in the past, but also, in our present. By the end of the semester, students will endeavor to answer the following questions: what is war; how does war affect participants/victims; how do societies remember war?
War in the Nineteenth Century
This is a course designed to give students and understanding of the nature of war on a global scale during the nineteenth century. Students will study the history of specific conflicts – their origins and nature – but also the ways in which war changed and transformed over the course of the ‘long’ nineteenth century. The hope for this course is that students who are interested in the American Civil War can gain further appreciation of the political and military changes associated with an age marked by conflicts of state formation and imperial expansion.
Aftermath: The Experience of War and ‘Modern’ Memory
This is a course that will examine, primarily, two conflicts in modern history and their lasting representations in cultural history and literary memory. Wars have long cultural legacies. Both the American Civil War and First World War changed not only the ‘war generation’ of each conflict, but also, demonstrate case studies of the representation of war and the polemics of memory within nation states. In this class students will engage with the cultural and military histories of two different conflicts and compare their lasting impact in our contemporary perception of war and society. As such, the ‘experience of war’ will be our broad topic of consideration. We will access this theme by examining memory sources that detail and represent these experiences over time. The class’s methodological themes will address the following: conceptions of victory and defeat, the memory of participants and their representations of war, the writing of history and the mythologies created by conflicts and their chroniclers. By studying the cultural history of combat and its aftermath, students will learn something about the way history is written and historical events depicted over time. Through interdisciplinary representations of war in film and literature, it is hoped that students will gain an understanding of the changing perceptions of wars, within the conception of modern memory.
John Brown: Freedom Fighter or Fanatic?,
Martyr or terrorist? Freedom fighter or fanatic? These questions remain controversial 150 years after John Brown’s failed attempt to foment a slave insurrection by seizing the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry. The course examines the events in Brown’s life and also contextualizes him within the broader cultural, intellectual and economic developments of his era. A variety of interpretations is explored in order to assess Brown’s role in history and his legacy as a symbol in the struggle for freedom and racial equality.
Reconstruction and the Legacy of the American Civil War
An exploration of the various aspects of Reconstruction, including political conflicts over how the defeated South would be treated, the struggle over civil rights for African Americans, an overview of Reconstruction historiography, the contested nature of Civil War memory, and the enduring legacy of this vital yet often overlooked period of our past.
Mark Twain's Civil War
Soldier in the Confederate Army, Connecticut Yankee, friend of U. S. Grant, favorite speaker at Grand Army of the Republic Reunions. Mark Twain called himself "not an American, but THE American." No American author wrote more incisively about race, war, reconstruction, and the American Way. Mr. Clemens fought his own personal civil war against Mark Twain, and lost.
Gone With The Wind
Study of the role of Civil War history and mythology in America's self-understanding and its continuing problem of race. Integrating Civil War Era Studies, Literature, Film Studies, and Political Science, the class seeks to understand the Jim Crow Era, the Civil Rights Movement, and the elections of 2008 and 2016. The class centers on the book and movie, Gone With The Wind, but will view other significant films pertaining to "race and reunion."
American Women and the Civil War Era
This course examines the experience of women during the Civil War Era. The principal focus of the course is to understand how mothers, wives and daughters negotiated significant wartime transitions. We will explore how women created and reacted to their shifting social, political, and cultural roles. Arranged thematically and chronologically, this course surveys primary and secondary sources that highlight recent historiographical trends and theoretical frameworks.
The American Civil War in the West
An examination of the Civil War in the West from the Appalachian Mountains to the Mississippi River. The course covers the actions of both the Union and Confederate armies and navies, ethnic minorities, and military technology (especially naval technology). Using primary and secondary materials, students master the historical content as well as develop their research and writing skills.
Interpreting Public Civil War Landscapes
Investigation of modern practices of interpretation using Civil War landscapes. Historic landscapes are vibrant places where history comes to life. Heritage interpretation is the practice of doing just that. This course investigates the history and practice of interpretation, using the Civil War landscapes around Gettysburg as a lens and laboratory. Students will learn the ever-evolving tools of interpretation, discover historical lenses through which to craft public history products and develop interpretive presentations centering on the campus, town and battlefield.
Seminar: American Civil War Era
Interdisciplinary seminar which addresses the social, political and cultural history of the Civil War era. Seminar focus shifts on a revolving basis to feature society, politics, and culture through institutions, art, philosophy, political formation, and print culture. This course is the capstone seminar for the CWES Minor, but it is open to other students as well.
Seminar: Interpretation of the American Civil War
Seminar which surveys the most influential historical interpretations of the Civil War. Intensive reading of interpretive work on Civil War era religion, slavery, gender identity, home-front issues, postwar adjustment, and soldier motivations. A major research project, based on topics connected with resources and collections in Gettysburg, Philadelphia, Harrisburg, Carlisle, Baltimore and Washington, is the principal responsibility of this course. Serves as a core course for The Gettysburg Semester.
Field Experience in Civil War Era Studies
Seminar devoted to the military experience of the Civil War. Involves detailed examination of the 19th century American military, and the major battles and battlefields of the eastern theater of the Civil War. Students participate in a series of day-long field trips to Harpers Ferry, Manassas, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Harpers Ferry, and Washington, D.C. There are three formal tours of the Gettysburg battlefield and borough, and a weekend trip to the Richmond/Petersburg battle sites. Students compile a weekly journal to comment on the battle sites, and to respond to readings to an assigned list of significant battle narratives. Serves as a core course for THE GETTYSBURG SEMESTER.
Individualized tutorial counting toward the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded A-F.
Individualized tutorial counting toward the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded S/U.
Individualized tutorial not counting in the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded A-F.
Individualized tutorial not counting in the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded S/U.
Individualized research counting toward the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded A-F.
Individualized research counting toward the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded S/U.
Individualized research not counting in the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded A-F.
Individualized research not counting in the minimum requirements in a major or minor graded S/U.
Internship counting toward the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded A-F.
Internship counting toward the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded S/U.
Internship not counting in the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded A-F.
Internship not counting in the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded S/U.
Summer Internship graded A-F, counting in the minimum requirements for a major or minor only with written permission filed in the Registrar's Office.
Summer Internship graded S/U, counting in the minimum requirements for a major or minor only with written permission filed in the Registrar's Office.
Half Credit Internship
Half credit internship, graded S/U.