2014 Annual Symposium Announced: A Just and Lasting Peace, Ending the Civil War

2014 Annual Symposium Announced: A Just and Lasting Peace, Ending the Civil War

The eleventh annual symposium in the United States Capitol Historical Society’s current series, “The National Capital in a Nation Divided: Congress and the District of Columbia Confront Sectionalism and Slavery,” will be held on Friday, May 2, 2014 in Room G-50 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building.

This year’s symposium will focus attention on Congress and the issues surrounding the end of the Civil War. Seven leading scholars will present papers on a variety of topics from the congressional debate over the 13th amendment to the trial in the Capitol of Capt. Henry Wirz of Andersonville as a war criminal. Preregistration is recommended.

2014 Symposium Program [PDF]


Gregory P. Downs

Gregory P. Downs, Associate Professor of History, City College & Graduate Center, CUNY

Professor Downs studies the political and cultural history of the United States in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Particularly, he investigates the transformative impact of the Civil War.  His first monograph, Declarations of Dependence: The Long Reconstruction of Popular Politics in the South, 1861-1908 was published by University of North Carolina Press in 2011. His next book, “The Ends of the War: Fighting the Civil War after Appomattox,” will examine the immediate period after Confederate surrender as an extension of wartime and is under contract with Harvard University Press to appear in 2015.

Carole Emberton

Carole Emberton, Associate Professor of History, University of Buffalo

Carole Emberton’s research focuses on the Civil War era, broadly considered. Thematically, she explores how violence shapes our social, political, and cultural worlds both past and present. Her first book, Beyond Redemption: Race, Violence, and the American South after the Civil War (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013), explores how the violence of a protracted civil war shaped the meaning of freedom and citizenship in the new South. She is currently working on a study of ex-slaves’ historical memory of the war and emancipation. Tentatively entitled, A Folk History of Freedom, this study examines the complex and controversial testimonies of ex-slaves collected by the Federal Writers’ Project in the 1930s.

Paul Finkelman

Paul Finkelman, the President William McKinley Distinguished Professor of Law and Public Policy at Albany Law School and the director of the symposia series

Paul Finkelman has published more than twenty-five books, more than one hundred and fifty articles, and numerous op-eds on the law of American slavery, the First Amendment, American race relations, American legal history, the U.S. Constitution, freedom of religion, and baseball and the law. Briefs to the U.S. Supreme Court have cited his work on religion and legal history as well as on the history of the second amendment. He most recently published a Biography of Millard Fillmore in the “American Presidents” series.

Matthew Pinsker

Matthew Pinsker, Associate Professor of History, Pohanka Chair in American Civil War History, Dickinson College

Matthew Pinsker holds the Brian Pohanka Chair of Civil War History at Dickinson College. He has published two books and numerous articles on Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War era, including Lincoln’s Sanctuary: Abraham Lincoln and the Soldiers’ Home (Oxford University Press, 2003). He has served as a visiting fellow at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia and leads annual K-12 teacher workshops on the Underground Railroad for the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Anne Sarah Rubin

Anne Sarah Rubin, Associate Professor of History, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Anne Sarah Rubin is the president of the Society of Civil War Historians, the author of A Shattered Nation: The Rise and Fall of the Confederacy, 1861-1868 (UNC Press, 2005), which received the OAH Avery O. Craven Award, and a coauthor of the award-winning Valley of the Shadow, an interactive history of the Civil War in two communities. She is currently working on a multimedia study of the memory of Gen. William T. Sherman’s March, entitled Through the Heart of Dixie: Sherman’s March and America, for which she received an ACLS Digital Innovation Fellowship. Her book of the same name will be published in 2014.

Michael Vorenberg

Michael Vorenberg, Associate Professor of History, Brown University

Michael Vorenberg began teaching at Brown University in 1999, became the Vartan Gregorian Assistant Professor in 2002, and was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure in 2004. His first book, Final Freedom: The Civil War, the Abolition of Slavery, and the Thirteenth Amendment, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2001 and was a finalist for the Lincoln Prize. He is also the author of The Emancipation Proclamation: A Brief History with Documents, forthcoming from Bedford Books/St. Martin’s. Currently, he is at work on a book about the impact of the Civil War on American citizenship.

Peter Wallenstein

Peter Wallenstein, Professor of History, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Peter Wallenstein‘s research emphasizes the U.S. South, public policy, and the history of racial identity in America. His many published books include From Slave South to New South: Public Policy in Nineteenth-Century Georgia (University of North Carolina Press, 1987); an edited collection of essays, Virginia’s Civil War (University of Virginia Press, 2004); Cradle of America: A History of Virginia (University Press of Kansas, 2nd edition forthcoming 2014); and Race, Sex, and the Freedom To Marry: Loving v. Virginia (University Press of Kansas, forthcoming 2014).