Despite the fact that media outlets have already proclaimed the end of the sesquicentennial with retrospectives on the anniversary, at CWI, the commemoration continues. There is no one date that definitively marks the end of the war, and ending anniversary commemorations in 2015 obscures the close linkages between the conflict and its aftermath. For that reason, CWI’s chronological march through the war will continue in 2016 with Reconstruction and the Legacy of the War. This conference – one of the first of its kind for a popular audience – will include a number of exciting new formats: small-group overview sessions, battlefield tours exploring postwar use of the Gettysburg battlefield, and breakout sessions devoted to Reconstruction through biography. Click here to see the full schedule for the Summer 2016 conference.
At the end of May, CWI Assistant Director Ian Isherwood partnered with student leaders from the Gettysburg Recreational Adventure Board (GRAB) to co-lead an 8-day backpacking trip along the West Highland Way, an old military road rambling through 96 miles of the Scottish highlands. Blending history and hiking, the group explored the social, economic, and cultural history of Scotland and the complex nature of Scottish identity. Participants – current students, staff, and alums – hiked the trail from the Bridge of Orchy to Fort William, passing through moors, mountains, and rolling hills and camping each night next to local inns, where they warmed up, met other hikers, and got a taste of modern Scottish culture. The group covered between 7-12 miles per day, eating meals along the trail and stopping regularly for conversation, photos, and exploring the sites. For Isherwood, who received his Ph.D. from the University of Glasgow in 2012, the trip offered an opportunity to share the history, culture, and striking views of his former home with members of the Gettysburg community. To learn more about the expeditions and wilderness programs offered through GRAB, visit the Experiential Education website. Photo credit Eric Lee ’15.
This year’s graduating class includes a particularly large number of students who have been active in CWI programs, and whose work at Gettysburg College has been exceptional in a wide variety of ways. Graduates have served as CWI Fellows, Brian C. Pohanka Interns, and Peer Learning Associates, written for the Gettysburg Compiler, presented their work at academic conferences, and published articles in the Gettysburg Historical Journal and the Gettysburg Journal of the Civil War Era. The class includes Mellon Summer Scholars and recipients of some of the History Department’s most prestigious prizes, such as the Hardinge Award for Early American History. Graduates plan to pursue employment and/or graduate study in a wide range of fields at institutions ranging from Oxford University, Columbia University, West Virginia University, Penn State University, and University of West Georgia.
Congratulations to Bryan Caswell, Jordan Cinderich, Heather Clancy, Rachel Hammer, Stephany Harrington, Sarah Johnson, Brianna Kirk, Emma Murphy, Bobby Novak, Abby Rolland, Jacob Ross, Liz Steinhour, and Andrew Vannucci.
Four members of the Class of 2015 who have been involved with the Civil War Institute received special honors during Commencement Weekend. Bryan Caswell, a CWI Fellow and former Brian C. Pohanka Intern, received the Jeffrey Pierce Memorial Award, given to a male senior who has reached the highest level of achievement in the field of history, the Anthony di Palma Memorial Award, awarded to the junior having the highest marks in history, and the Earl Kresge Stock Writing Prize in the Humanities. CWI Fellow Sarah Johnson was awarded the Henry W.A. Hanson Award, given to a senior who plans to enter graduate school in preparation for college teaching. Former Pohanka intern Jordan Cinderich received the John M. Colestock Student Leadership Award, given to the male senior whose optimism, enthusiasm, and strength of character have provided exceptional leadership in student affairs. Stephany Harrington, also a former Pohanka intern, received the Lena S. Fortenbaugh Memorial Prize in German Studies, awarded to a senior with outstanding achievement in the study of German language and culture.
Best wishes to all members of the Class of 2015, as they venture out to “do great work” in the world beyond Gettysburg College.
On April 11, the Australian Ambassador to the United States, Kim Beazley, visited Gettysburg and toured the battlefield with CWI Director Peter Carmichael and history faculty member Michael Birkner, who regularly teaches a course on Australian history and politics. A Civil War enthusiast, Beazley has visited the Gettysburg battlefield at least half a dozen times during his five year tenure as the Australian ambassador to the U.S.
After the tour, the group returned to the Gettysburg College campus for lunch and then visited the Eisenhower Farm. Ambassador Beazley is an important figure in contemporary Australian politics. He has held numerous key legislative and cabinet posts, including Minister of Defense, Finance, Aviation, Transport and Communications, and Employment Education and Training. Beazley served as Deputy Prime Minister from 1995-96 and Leader of the Opposition from 1996-2001 and again in 2005-06. In 2009, Ambassador Beazley was awarded the Companion of the Order of Australia for service to the Australian Parliament through contributions to the development of defense and international relations policies and as an advocate for Indigenous people.
Two Gettysburg College historians, CWI Director Peter Carmichael and Allen Guelzo, head of Civil War Era Studies, are featured in a new primetime documentary, Blood and Glory: The Civil War in Color, which premiered on April 8, 2015 on the History Channel. This four-part documentary series brings the Civil War to life as never seen before. With unprecedented access to government and private archives and using state-of-the-art technology, over 500 rare and compelling black and white photographs have been painstakingly colorized to illustrate the story of the Civil War in remarkable detail. In addition to Carmichael and Guelzo, the program features historians James Oakes and George Rable, actors Richard Dreyfuss and Ben Stein, former Senator Carol Moseley-Braun, and retired U.S. Army Generals David Petraeus and Colin Powell, in addition to descendants of Frederick Douglass, Ulysses S. Grant and Jefferson Davis. The series focuses on pivotal events that led the nation into conflict, the impact of state-of-the-art weaponry and technology, the tragic and unimaginable cost of combat, and the struggle to rebuild both individual lives and the country as a whole after the Confederacy’s surrender.
In April 2015, thanks to the efforts of Jesse Campana ’18, students in CWI Assistant Director Ian Isherwood’s class on the Great War had a unique opportunity to visit an authentic replica of a World War I trench line located near Newville, PA. The Caesar Krauss Great War Memorial Site is owned and maintained by the Great War Association (GWA), which strives to honor those who fought in the conflict through battle reenactments and educational events. On a 100 acre site in the woods of south-central Pennsylvania, the organization has authentically recreated a portion of the Western Front as it may have appeared circa 1917-18. The GWA places intense emphasis on historical accuracy and participatory history. The group’s reenactments take place within systems of opposing trenches complete with a crater-pocked No-Man's Land; participants remain in character 24/7 and spectators are not permitted. The memorial site provides a remarkable window into the material culture of trench life, including belts of barbed wire, used to protect the sandbagged front line trenches, bunkers with functioning machine guns, and supporting and communication trenches, connected to underground dugouts where officers plan operations and the common soldiers eat and rest. Campana, a GWA member and student in History 219, gave his classmates a tour of the trenches and an introduction to the material culture of war. Photo and title credit Kevin Lavery ’16.
In April 2015, CWI joined the President’s Office, the History Department and the Africana Studies Program in co-sponsoring a two-day symposium exploring the 50th anniversary of the seminal civil rights campaigns of 1965. On Wednesday, April 8, CWI Associate Director Jill Ogline Titus joined colleagues from across campus in a faculty panel discussion on “The State of the Movement and Public Opinion in 1965.” On Thursday, April 8, Dr. Richard Hutch ’67 built on the previous evening's event by sharing his experiences as a college student volunteer with the Summer Community Organization and Political Education (SCOPE) project spearheaded by Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC).
Three CWI Fellows presented papers at the 2015 Central Pennsylvania Consortium symposium, Legacies of the Great War: Remembering World War I after 100 Years, held March 27-28 at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pa. In addition to the undergraduate research session, the event featured leading authorities on the conflict and its commemoration, including Susan Grayzel (University of Mississippi), Chad Williams (Brandeis University), and Jenny Waldman, Director of the First World War Centenary Programme. The three Gettysburg students presented a panel on literary memories of the war, moderated by CWI Assistant Director Ian Isherwood. Heather Clancy ’15’s paper, “An Infinitely Bitter Leave-Taking,” explored an atypical escape narrative written by a German POW. Sarah Johnson ’15 examined a memoir written by Fritz Draper Hurd in her paper, “Growing Up in the Trenches.” Kevin Lavery ’16 rounded out the panel with “Of Romance and Rhetoric: The Palestine Campaign in the Memory of Major Vivian Gilbert,” author of a romanticized narrative that nonetheless remains a valuable piece of war rhetoric.
CWI Fellow Sarah Johnson ’15 and Assistant Director Ian Isherwood traveled to England in March 2015 to present a jointly-authored paper at a conference on the Great War (World War I) at the University of Oxford. The symposium was sponsored by the Globalising and Localising the Great War Project, a partnership between Pembroke College and the Oxford Centre for Global History aimed at encouraging ground-breaking new research and fresh insights which challenge often clichéd standard perspectives on an event that shaped— and continues to shape— the modern world. Johnson and Isherwood’s paper, “‘Yankee to the ranks from the towns and the tanks’: Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and the First World War,” grew out of Johnson’s 2015 Mellon Summer Scholar project on Gettysburg and the Great War, mentored by Isherwood, and represents the sort of student-faculty research collaboration that distinguishes a Gettysburg education. In addition to participating in the conference and networking with colleagues from across the world, Johnson and Isherwood spent a day researching in the library of the Imperial War Museum (London). Read more of Sarah’s work on Gettysburg and the First World War here.
We live in a moment of intense commemorative activity. The 2010s have brought us the sesquicentennial of the Civil War, the centennial of the Great War, the bicentennial of the War of 1812, and the 50th anniversary of key moments in the American civil rights movement. CWI associate director Jill Ogline Titus, a public historian and scholar of the 20th century black freedom struggle, recently published an op-ed in the Philadelphia Inquirer challenging Americans using civil rights anniversaries to highlight the structural issues underlying continued racial inequality. Read Titus’s piece in its entirety here.
CWI Director Peter Carmichael was interviewed for Civil War Monitor's "Behind the Lines" video series in January 2015. In the video, Carmichael highlights some of the speakers and programs awaiting attendees of the 2015 Civil War Institute Summer Conference, and weighs in on the recent controversy surrounding the state of Civil War military history. Challenging the idea that the future of Civil War scholarship is in crisis, Carmichael argues that debates over classification don't do the field any good and that instead of focusing on artificial distinctions, Civil War historians ought to focus on learning from the diverse perspectives embodied in recent scholarship and celebrating the integration of military history, cultural history, social history, gender history, political history, environmental history, etc.
Under the leadership of Managing Editor Heather Clancy ‘15, the Civil War Institute’s blog, The Gettysburg Compiler, has had a banner year, reaching new heights of readership and visitor engagement with posts. Over the course of the fall semester, student writers for the blog have experimented with a variety of new formats, including Warpinion editorials, Archival Adventures, Battlefield Correspondence reports from Oak Ridge and the Virginia Memorial, and Point/Counterpoint pieces on topics ranging from Civil War reenacting to lecture reviews. Old favorites, such as the video series “Special Collections Roadshow,” have also returned to the pages of the Compiler, bringing new episodes dedicated to investigating war-related artifacts housed in Musselman Library’s Special Collections & College Archives. Student writers have brought their training as historians to topics such as the commercialism of Gettysburg, battlefield art and monuments, the ghost tour industry, Civil War music, the “dark turn” in Civil War scholarship, popular memory of Stonewall Jackson, and the ethics of archival research, sparking and spurring new cyber-conversations about the interpretation and relevance of history in 21st-century society. Browse The Gettysburg Compiler.
In January 2013, CWI Associate Director Jill Ogline Titus will serve as the faculty advisor for a Center for Public Service-sponsored Immersion Trip to Alabama. Over the course of this nine-day trip, Dr. Titus and seven Gettysburg College students will visit some of the sites that played a central role in the 20th-century black freedom struggle: Birmingham's 16th Street Baptist Church, Selma's Edmund Pettus Bridge, and the small towns of Lowndes County, home of the Lowndes County Freedom Organization. In addition to exploring the history of civil rights, the group will participate in service projects, spend several nights with host families, and delve into the relationship between the triumphs of the movement and contemporary civil rights issues, including immigration policy, voting rights, economic injustice, and educational policy.
Sponsored by Gettysburg College's Center for Public Service, Immersion Projects offer off-campus, educational service opportunities at sites in the United States and abroad. Students travel to a site where they work and serve in a community different from their own. Each project seeks to foster a dialogue between the College community and the host community around issues of social justice. By working alongside people and sharing their stories, students learn about themselves and the world. For more information about CPS Immersion Trips, please visit the Center for Public Service.