Speaker Spotlight: Draper Conference by Winifred Maloney

Nina Silber, David Blight, and W. Fitzhugh Brundage are all preeminent scholars of the Civil War and memory. They are three of many scholars who have entered the growing conversation regarding Confederate monuments and their place in our world. Silber, Blight, and Brundage have all contributed their thoughts on the matter to various publications, and will be continuing the conversation at the upcoming inaugural Draper Workshop Series event titled “Recasting the Confederacy: Monuments and Civil War Memory” on November 6.

Nina Silber, a professor of history and American Studies at Boston University, received her BA, MA, and Ph.D from UC Berkeley. She has published several books, including The Romance of Reunion: Northerners and the South, 1865-1900 (1993); Divided Houses: Gender and the Civil War (1992); Daughters of the Union: Northern Women Fight the Civil War (2005); and Gender and the Sectional Conflict (2009). Silber is the president-elect of the Society of Civil War Historians. Her piece on Confederate monuments, “Worshipping the Confederacy is about white supremacy—even the Nazis thought so,” was featured by The Washington Post in August. Her current work focuses on Civil War memory during the Great Depression and the New Deal.

David Blight is the Class of 1954 Professor of American History at Yale as well as the Director of the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition. He received his Ph.D from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and won the Bancroft prize for this book Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory (2001). On October 23, Blight briefed Congress on the history of Civil War monuments. On the subject of Confederate monuments, Blight wrote “‘The Civil War lies on in us like a sleeping dragon’: America’s deadly divide—and why it has returned” for The Guardian in August. Blight is currently writing a biography of Frederick Douglass to be published in 2018.

W. Fitzhugh Brundage is the William B. Umstead Distinguished Professor and Department Chair in history at UNC Chapel Hill. Brundage received his MA and Ph.D from Harvard. He has written several books and edited numerous collections, including Beyond Blackface: African Americans and the Creation of American Popular Culture, 1890-1930 (2011). Brundage’s piece, “I’ve studied the history of Confederate memorials. Here’s what to do about them” was featured on Vox in August. Currently, he is working on a project tracing the history of torture in the United States.

“Recasting the Confederacy: Monuments and Civil War Memory” will be the first of many events in the Draper Workshop Series. Organized by Manisha Sinha, Draper Chair in American History, the series promises to bring leading scholars to the University of Connecticut to engage in conversation surrounding various historical issues.