300 North Washington St.
Gettysburg, PA 17325-1400
BA Taylor University, 2001
MA University of Massachusetts, 2003
PhD University of Massachusetts, 2007
African American History, Public History, Modern US
Jill OglineTitus is associate director of the Civil War Institute at Gettysburg College and co-coordinator of the college’s Public History minor. She is the author of Gettysburg 1963: Civil Rights, Cold War Politics, and Historical Memory in America’s Most Famous Small Town (University of North Carolina Press, 2021), winner of the Willie Lee Rose Prize, and Brown’s Battleground: Students, Segregationists, and the Struggle for Justice in Prince Edward County (UNC Press, 2011), which was a finalist for the Library of Virginia Literary Award. Her articles and reviews have appeared in Journal of Southern History, The Public Historian, History News, and Journal of the Civil War Era. Her next project is an investigation of civil rights and Black Power across the supposed north-south divide, as expressed in northern host programs for southern black students in the 1960s. At Gettysburg College, she teaches courses in modern American history, public history, African American history and historical memory, and oversees many of the college’s public history initiatives. From 2007 to 2012, she was Associate Director of the C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience at Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland. Prior to joining the staff of the Starr Center, Titus worked seasonally for the National Park Service. She received her Ph.D. in History from the University of Massachusetts in 2007.
An exploration of the complex, contentious and frequently contradictory ways that memories of the Civil War have reverberated in American culture from the immediate postwar years through the present day. Taking race, politics, and commemoration as primary lenses, the course will devote significant attention to the ways historical figures used the diverse landscapes of public memory – including battlefields, works of art, monuments & memorials, cultural programs, fiction and film – in an ongoing struggle to define the meaning and legacy of the war.
Historical fiction is one of the oldest forms of storytelling (think ancient works such as The Odyssey or Shakespearean dramas like Julius Caesar), but did not emerge as a recognizable literary genre until the early 19th century. Since then, the genre has seen highs and lows, and produced everything from bodice-ripping romances to gritty tales of wartime espionage. What binds all historical fiction together, though, is the way it sheds light on the human condition by providing a window into the lives and mindsets of people of another age. In this course, we will read and discuss several novels, chosen for their diverse approach to historical writing and their ability to help us better understand the eras in which they are set. We will also do quite a bit of writing ourselves. In short, we will approach fiction as a lens through which to approach the age-old challenge of interpreting the past. Is the past truly “a foreign country” or are the people who live there a lot like ourselves? How do “history” and “memory” shape and influence each other? How do the stories we tell ourselves about the past influence the way we live in the present? How do writers – novelists AND scholars – reconstruct the past for a contemporary audience?
The American Civil War itself may have ended in 1865, but its’ fault lines, reverberations, and unfinished business continue to shape American society today. From the veterans who sought to honor their causes and comrades in the postwar years and the civil rights activists and segregationists who battled to define the war’s legacy in the 1960 to the Black Lives Matter activists who toppled Confederate monuments in the summer of 2020, Americans of every generation since Appomattox have approached the war with one eye on the past and the other on the present. This course provides an introduction to the diverse ways that memories of slavery and the Civil War have shaped American culture and politics from the immediate postwar years through the present day. Looking closely at monuments, ghost tours, postwar depictions of slavery, cemeteries, preservation of sites associated with slavery and the war, tourism patterns, and depictions of the war on canvas and film, it digs deeply into the ways that different generations of Americans (black, white, northern, and southern) have sought to define the meaning and legacy of the Civil War. The semester closes with a series of discussions about the future of Civil War memory, centering around the place of Confederate symbols in the 21st-century US; the question of reparations for slavery; and the relationship between slavery, Jim Crow, and modern mass incarceration.
This class introduces students to ideas, debates, and best practices in the field of public history. Public history is a term that defines a constellation of historical practices outside of the academy, but most often refers to historians who work in institutions such as museums, historic sites, preservation offices, archives, and cultural resource agencies. This course will introduce students to the historical origins of public history in the United States and current ideas about the practice of public history. Offered annually.
This class is a survey of U.S. History since 1865 that will focus on how various groups in American society have defined themselves as citizens. Why people have collectively come together to pursue and defend a common set of interests, often to the point of violence, is the primary line of inquiry of this class. In pursuing this question, we will examine the various claims that American citizens have placed upon government, both at the state and federal level. Offered as staffing permits.
This course will explore the twentieth-century African-American struggle for equal rights. Special attention will be paid to the legacy of Brown v. Board of Education, the role of women, young people & college students in the movement, the relationship between legal equality and economic justice, black power, the connections between the Cold War and domestic civil rights campaigns, the “long civil rights movement,¿? and the relationship between past inequalities and contemporary policies. Offered every other year.