Wars do not end when the shooting stops. Although the Civil War is the defining event of our history, Americans have wrestled with the war’s meaning and legacy since Appomattox. In this seminar, we explore the contested ways in which men and women, blacks and whites, northerners and southerners, veterans and civilians, have struggled to define the meaning of the American Civil War, from the immediate postwar years through the ongoing sesquicentennial commemorations. How should the Civil War be remembered? How does a nation achieve healing and justice in the wake of great tragedy? Through readings, tours of the Gettysburg battlefield and its commemorative landscape, blogs, class discussions, and a semester-long research project, we investigate the construction of historical memory and the literary, social, cultural, and political legacies of our nation’s fiery trial.
FYS-185 The Long Shadow of the Civil War