OF THE CIVIL WAR
5 LIVE SESSIONS (90 MINUTES EACH)
This course explores how Americans have dealt with the memory of the most seismic conflict in the nation’s history. Crucial themes include the importance of distinguishing between history and historical memory, the need to acknowledge sometimes frustrating complexity in the past, and the ways in which politics and social attitudes from one era can affect how earlier periods are remembered and understood. The class will examine four interpretive traditions created by the generation that experienced the war—the Union Cause, the Emancipation Cause, the Lost Cause, and the Reconciliation Cause—and how those traditions dominated subsequent popular debate and understanding. In investigating the ebb and flow of memory traditions, the course will address the importance of literature and films, the development of a contentious memorial landscape, and the continuing power of the Civil War to spark heated debate.