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Celebrate the Civil War Sesquicentennial with the Department of Historical Studies at SIUE!

The Department of Historical Studies at SIUE is proud to sponsor these 2011 events in conjunction with the sesquicentennial of the American Civil War. Please check back for updated schedules and new events!

Living History Exhibit: Civil War Military Bivouac

The Living History demonstration of Civil War military life will involve 50 to 75 re-enactors who will create a military camp, demonstrate military tactics, and illustrate camp life. The bivouac will be established on Saturday, April 16 and remain through Sunday, April 17th. The camp will be open for the public to explore, talk with the re-enactors, and watch the demonstrations. Experts will be available to explain various aspects of military life. The Living History Demonstration serves a number of purposes. First, because of their immense popularity, a re-enactment camp will help draw the public to all of the scheduled activities. Second, the re-enactment bivouac, in combination with some of the colloquia topics (see below), will help engage the general public with the humanities by exploring questions such as what motivated individual soldiers to fight, how do we account for the unparalleled death during the War, and what was life like for the common soldier.

Cultural History and Anthropology

Civil War "Antique Road Show:" As the American Memory program at the Library of Congress has demonstrated, there is a wealth of cultural artifacts and oral history possessed by American families and households. This activity, held in conjunction with the "Living History Demonstration" and the colloquia (see below) on the weekend of April 16 and 17, 2011, is designed to give area residents the opportunity to share their family Civil War historical artifacts and histories. We will invite people to bring their information and articles to campus, where we will record the stories and enter information about their document or artifact, the first step in creating a regional Civil War repository. We will also have historians, archivists, and museum curators available to help put the document/artifact/oral story in context and to advise individuals on how to best preserve the material. This "Civil War Antique Road Show" helps engage the public with the humanities in a personal and meaningful way. It also helps the public appreciate the value of history and anthropology in understanding common objects in our lives.


Discussions on the Civil War: Embedded in the "Living History Exhibit" and the "Civil War Antique Road Show" are colloquia on various Civil War topics. The colloquia will run through the day on April 16 and April 17 and will be at locations on campus in close proximity to the other activities. The colloquia are organized into four broad sessions. Each session will feature a number of topics. Humanities scholars will present the topics and engage the audience discussion. The sessions and topics are:1. "Military Aspects of the Civil War:" This session will be a roundtable discussion first among three historians and then with the audience. The historians are SIUE Professor Stephen Hansen (History), UMSL Professor Louis Gerteis (History), and SIUE Professor Emeritus Richard Millett (History). The topics will be:• Five Best Generals of the Civil War• Five Worst Generals of the Civil War• Five Most Important Turning Points of the Civil War• Five Worse Mistakes of the Civil War.

2. "Civil War and American Culture:" This session will feature four presentations addressing the questions of how popular culture reflects history as well as how to preserve family artifacts. Specific topics and the humanities scholars who will present are:• "Depiction of Civil War Women in Popular 20th Century Fiction" by Cecilie Flo, SIUE History master's degree student• "Preserving the Past: Public History and Museums" by Professor Laura Fowler(History), SIUE• "Preserving Family Records" by Dr. Amanda Bahr-Evola (History), SIUE Archivist• "Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library" by Carol Manning, Educaton Coordinator, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum and Library.

3. "Southwestern Illinois in the Civil War:" This session will connect the region to the larger milieu of the Civil War. It will demonstrate the value of local history and introduce the audience to the larger questions of Civil War causation, context, and consequence. The specific topics are:• "African-American Civil War Soldiers from Illinois" by Dr. Victoria Harrison (History), SIUE• "Elijah Lovejoy" by Mark Neels (History), Lindenwood College and SIU doctoral student• "Confederate POW's and the Alton Prison" by Dr. Mike Whaley (History), Lindenwood College• The Disloyal: Gratiot Prison" by Louis Gerteis (History), UMSL• "The Battle of Shiloh and One Illinois Family" by Professor Jon Hunt (EdAdmin), SIUE.

4. "What Every Teacher Needs to Know About the Civil War:" This session will feature a roundtable discussion led by humanities scholars and area teachers. It is designed to help elementary and secondary school teachers better understand the contribution of history to their student's education and to offer the teachers resources to help them strengthen their teaching. The roundtable participants include: Professor Jason Stacy, SIUE History Department, Professor Rowena McClinton, SIUE History Department, Professor Caroline Pryor, SIUE Curriculum and Instruction Department, and Mr. Jeff Welker Roxana High School. Specific topics will include:• The Home Front: North and South• The Powerful Interest: Free and Enslaved African Americans• The Social Rending: Southern and Northern Society during the War• Disabled Men and Abled Women: Challenges to Gender Norms during the War

"The Civil War"

On April 20th, Ken Burns, noted producer and director, will speak at the SIUE campus on the Civil War. His speech will be open to the public, although there will be a fee for tickets. His talk will demonstrate to the public the significance of the Civil War to American history as well as the importance of the humanities for understanding the nature of our society.

"Friends of Lovejoy Library High School Writers' Contest"

We will sponsor a non-fiction and a poetry contest for area high school students using the theme of the Civil War. Cash prizes of will be awarded for first, second, and third places in each category. The essays and the poetry will be judged by a panel of SIUE faculty and graduate students. Over 65 area high schools will be contacted inviting their students to submit. The Friends of SIUE Lovejoy Library will host a dinner on April 27th for the winners, their parents, and teachers. This activity will help engage young students and their parents in the humanities for understanding the Civil War.