This seminar will allow participants to explore for themselves Walt Whitman’s notion that the “real war will never get in the books.” Was the American Civil War was an event of such enormity and complexity as to prevent it from ever truly being understood by later generations? How do we successfully convey that enormity to our students? First, seminar discussion of the secondary readings will elucidate major features of the socio-political and cultural aspects of the conflict, as well as recent historiographical trends. Second, close reading and analysis of primary sources from the Newberry’s collections will allow us to gain intimate knowledge of individual Americans’ experiences while offering models for similar workshop projects in teachers’ home classrooms.
Seminar led by Margaret Storey, DePaul University