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Rebirth of a Nation: Nationalism and the Civil War | Let's Talk About It Fall 2010

Americans have boldly believed that our history is rooted in a new order for the ages, a new experiment in republican government. This belief, rooted in our founding documents of fashioning “a more perfect union,” has led us to elevate our ideals in struggling to define what America is and what it means to be an American. Imbued with determination, we have envisioned ourselves, often with a missionary zeal, through powerful images such as a beacon of hope and a city on a hill. It should therefore be no surprise that few periods in our history have challenged us more than the war between the states and the period of reconstruction that followed it. To what extent did the Civil War have fundamental causes? To what extent was slavery a cause of the war? Why did our country have to experience this bitter conflict? Through historical analyses, memoir, and a novel that galvanized national emotions on the issue of slavery, the readings in this series look at the complexities involved in the Civil War and Reconstruction. In addition, they also ask us to question what, finally, is the legacy to our own time of the Civil War. If you want to experience how these readings can move us, provoke us, inform us, and urge us onward today, please join us for this "Let's Talk About It, Oklahoma" reading and discussion series to explore and discover.

Oklahoma City University invites participants to make these books come alive in the readings of this five-part series. At each session, a Humanities scholar will make a 30-40 minute presentation on the book in the context of the theme. Small group discussion will follow with experienced discussion leaders. At the end, everyone will come together for a brief wrap-up. Anyone interested in participating is encouraged to pre-register and borrow the reading selections and theme brochure by calling Harbour Winn at 208-5472, emailing him at [email protected], or dropping by the Dulaney-Browne Library, Room 211 or 207. (Note the offices are located in the five-story building southwest of Walker Center.)

The series will be held in Walker Center, Room 151, on the Oklahoma City University campus from 7:00 to 9:00 PM on Tuesdays, beginning September 14 and continuing on alternate Tuesdays through November 9. Books, services, and other materials for this series of programs are provided by "Let's Talk About It, Oklahoma," a project of the Oklahoma Humanities Council with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Funding for this series was provided by a grant from the Inasmuch Foundation.


9/14/2010 William and Bruce Catton's Two Roads to Sumter

Born less than twelve months and a hundred miles apart, Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis grew up to become presidents of a divided nation. Written by two brilliant historians, this comparative biography will launch our series theme.

9/28/2010 Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin

Lincoln’s legendary comment upon meeting Stowe that her novel caused the Civil War underscores the significant place this book holds in American history and literature. In our time this controversial best seller of slave Tom and Simon Legree too often is referred to by those who have not read it.

10/12/2010 James McPherson's Ordeal By Fire, Volume II: The Civil War

Through dramatic narrative, photographs, and maps, this story of the war years unfolds in McPherson’s moving work. Providing both military and civilian details, the book explores, for both North and South, the meaning of national self-definition.

10/26/2010 John Hope Franklin's Reconstruction: After the Civil War

One of America’s most distinguished black historians, Franklin tells the story of compromise and restoration. The price of peace and reconciliation comes clearly through another century of second-class citizenship for African Americans. His revisionist work refutes the essentially racist view of traditional studies of the post-Civil War era.

11/9/2010 C. Vann Woodward & Elizabeth Muhlenfeld's The Private Mary Chesnut: The Unpublished Civil War Diaries

The diary of a Southern woman who lived in the South during the Civil War provides a mosaic of the Confederate South as well as symmetry to our readings. Seeing herself as a victim of male domination, she also offers views of an outspoken feminist for her time.

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