CWI is delighted to announce the appointment of historian Ashley Whitehead Luskey as Assistant Director, effective August 15, 2017. An accomplished scholar with more than 15 years of experience in public history, Luskey comes to Gettysburg College from Morgantown, West Virginia, where she served as owner of Past Presented Historical Consulting and an instructor in the Department of History at West Virginia University.
A graduate of the College of William & Mary, Luskey earned her M.A. in History, with a concentration in Public History, in 2010, and her Ph.D. in History in 2014 from West Virginia University. She has worked extensively as a ranger-historian for the National Park Service at Richmond National Battlefield Park, where she researched, planned and conducted a wide range of public programs (including serving as co-planner and co-leader of the park’s Civil War 150th programs), supervised interns and seasonal staff members, served as the park’s contact person for research and operations questions about the Shelton House at Rural Plains, and authored an operational and interpretive manual about the house and grounds.
Luskey is a specialist in 19th-century American history, with research interests in the long Civil War era, the American South, cultural history, southern women, and historical memory. Her dissertation, “A Debt Of Honor: Elite Women’s Rituals of Cultural Authority in the Confederate Capital,” which she is currently revising into a book manuscript, examines slaveholding women’s use of cultural rituals, social performance, and appropriations of public space as means to institute social order and retain political authority in Richmond, VA during the Civil War.
Luskey is no stranger to Gettysburg College, having worked as a conference coordinator & consultant for CWI from 2015-2017. She is also a 2006 alumnus of the Gettysburg Semester program. At CWI, Luskey will oversee the CWI Fellows program, working closely with CWI’s student blog, The Gettysburg Compiler, and new digital initiative, Killed At Gettysburg. She will also spearhead planning and content development for CWI’s annual summer conference, oversee the institute’s social media presence, assist with the Brian C. Pohanka Internship Program, and conduct battlefield tours for guests of Gettysburg College. Says Luskey, “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to join such an incredible staff at CWI and be able to work on some exciting projects that blend both academic and public history. Gettysburg College and the Civil War Institute have long held a special place in my heart since the week I spent here as a high school scholarship recipient at the 2003 CWI annual conference. Being able to work with Gettysburg College students, the National Park Service, other college and community partners, and the public on such a wide range of projects that foster learning opportunities through place-based history, research, and interpretation is especially exciting for me. I look forward to continuing the great work that my colleagues and predecessors at CWI have started, and to exploring even more possibilities for enriching our students’ and the public’s engagement with the Civil War and its legacies.”