Call for Papers

Posted on September 1, 2010

Civil War – Global Conflict

March 3 – 5, 2011

In 2011, the United States will observe the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War. To mark this important anniversary the Program in the Carolina Lowcountry and Atlantic World at the College of Charleston will host an international conference considering the war as an event of global significance. Examining the causes, passage, and consequences of the war in an international context promises to break from the divisive and narrow focus on the war as a sectional conflict fought in an America whose existence is seen as entirely separate from the rest of the world. The conference will therefore examine:

œ    the role of international currents of thought (political, racial, ethical, religious), international economic pressures, and international political alignments leading to the war;

œ    international support and opposition, as well as diplomatic efforts during the war;

œ    international consequences both during and after the war (e.g., who took advantage of the destruction of cotton and rice production? Who learned what from military, communication technology, etc.?); and

œ    commemoration and memorialization of the war beyond America’s borders (i.e., how the war has come to be remembered around the world in political movements, in fictional representations, in popular culture, toys, etc.).

We invite scholars to submit proposals for individual papers and panels that might address such questions as:

œ    How did the Union and Confederacy operate in the diplomatic sphere?

œ    How did the rest of the world view the conflict?

œ    What did Americans, particularly South Carolinians, think of international attitudes toward the United and Confederate States?

œ    What did Americans living abroad think of the conflict?

œ    What impact did Confederate exiles/colonies have on their host countries?

œ    What impact did American Emancipation have on slavery in Latin America, Africa etc.?

œ    How did the Civil War influence world views of the U.S., particularly the South, and how did Unionists/Confederates see themselves in the world?

œ    How is the Civil War remembered and recreated internationally in literature, film, and in popular memorabilia?

œ    How did international religious alliances play into the conflict and its representations?

Keynote speakers include Richard Blackett (Vanderbilt University), Joan Cashin (Ohio State University), James McPherson (Princeton University), and E.B. Rugemer (Yale University). Since the conference is the College of Charleston’s opening academic event in a broader, four-year-long commemoration of the war, there will be a number of subsidiary events going on in and around Charleston that participants will find of interest.

As with previous successful CLAW program events the conference will be run in a seminar style: accepted participants will be expected to send completed papers to the organizers two months in advance of the conference itself (by January 5th, 2011) for circulation via password-protected site.  At the conference itself presenters will talk for no more than ten minutes about their paper, working on the assumption that everyone has read the paper itself.  This arrangement means that papers may be considerably lengthier and more carefully argued than the typical 20-minute presentation; and it leads to more substantive, better informed discussion. It also generally allows us to move quite smoothly toward publication of a selection of essays.

Proposals for individual papers should be between 300 and 500 words, and should be accompanied by a brief biographical statement indicating institutional affiliation, research interests, and relevant publishing record.  Please e-mail your proposal to or send by mail to: “Civil War – Global Conflict” Organizing Committee, c/o CLAW Program, College of Charleston, 66 George Street, Charleston, SC 29424-0001 before September 5th, 2010.

If you wish to send a proposal for a 3- or 4-person panel, please send a 300 to 500-word proposal describing the panel as a whole as well as proposals for each of the individual papers, along with biographical statements for each of the presenters. The organizers reserve the right to accept individual papers from panel proposals, to break up panels, and to add papers to panels.  Notification of acceptance will be sent by October 5th, 2010.

Organizing Committee:

Simon Lewis (CLAW); Lee Drago (History); Adam Mendelsohn (Jewish Studies); Scott Peeples (English); Bernard Powers (History); Lisa Randle (CLAW); John White (CLAW) [all College of Charleston]; O. Vernon Burton (Coastal Carolina University); David Gleeson (Northumbria University, UK); Valinda Littlefield (University of South Carolina)