Competing Commemorations: The Uses and Abuses of Civil War Memory at Home and Abroad

Endorsed by the Society for Historians of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era (SHGAPE)

Friday, April 1, 2022, 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM

Type: Roundtable Discussion

Tags: Civil War and Reconstruction; Gender; Public History and Memory


This roundtable interrogates how Americans interpreted the Civil War and its meaning by focusing on those largely excluded from the battles over Reconstruction and the memory of the Civil War. By illuminating the concerted efforts of Civil War Roundtables, veterans' groups, and white Southern women to manipulate and even erase the history of the Civil War, we ultimately uncover messages about fighting, patriotism, citizenship, masculinity, and race that differ from these more mainstream narratives of the war.

Session Participants

Chair: Maria Angela Diaz, Utah State University
Maria Angela Diaz is Assistant Professor of U.S. history. Her recent publications include “To Conquer the Coast: Pensacola, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Construction of American Imperialism, 1820-1848,” in Florida Historical Quarterly, and a forthcoming chapter in Reconsidering Southern Labor History: Race, Class, and Power entitled “To Carry that Burden: The Texas Cart War and the Place of Mexican Laborers in the Southern Landscape, 1854-1857.” Her current book project is entitled Saving the Southern Empire: Territorial Expansion in the Gulf South and Latin America, 1845-1865.

Panelist: Beau Cleland, University of Calgary
Beau Cleland is a Postdoctoral Associate at the University of Calgary. He holds an MA in International Relations from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies and a Ph.D. in History from the University of Calgary. Before that he served eight years as an officer in the United States Army (2003-2011) with combat service in Afghanistan (2006) and Iraq (2007-2009). He has presented papers at meetings of the Southern Historical Association, the Society of Civil War Historians, and the Society of Military History, among others. He is currently at work on the manuscript for his first book, on the problems of sovereignty, privatized violence, and informal diplomacy in British America during the American Civil War.

Panelist: Laura June Davis, Southern Utah University
Dr. Laura June Davis is an Assistant Professor of History and the Co-Chair of Women's Studies at Southern Utah University. Her teaching and research focus on American history through the 19th century, with an emphasis on gender, identity, community, the maritime world, and the military. She has won the Innovative Teaching Award from the College of Humanities and Social Sciences in 2018 and the Distinguished Educator Award in 2020. Her current manuscript project focuses on sabotage, irregular naval warfare, and masculinity during the Civil War. She is also working on articles about 19th century dueling culture in the U.S. navy, memory & commemoration within the Confederate Navy, and Civil War era confiscation. A preview of her research can be found “Irregular Naval Warfare on the Lower Mississippi River” in The Guerrilla Hunters: Exploring the Civil War’s Irregular Conflicts edited by Barton Myers and Brian McKnight (Louisiana State University Press, 2017).

Panelist: Laura Mammina, University of Houston–Victoria
Laura Mammina is an assistant professor of history at the University of Houston-Victoria, where she teaches courses on gender and sexuality and race and ethnicity in the U.S. Her work appears in Tennessee Women: Their Life and Times, Volume II and Civil War History, and she has co-edited, with Megan L. Bever and Lesley J. Gordon, American Discord: The Republic and Its People in the Civil War Era. She is currently at work on a book-length project examining the interactions of Union soldiers and southern women during the American Civil War.

Panelist: Edward Valentin Jr., National Museum of the U.S. Navy
Edward Valentin is a historian and curator at the National Museum of the United States Navy. He received his doctorate in history from Rice University in May 2020. He specializes in nineteenth-century U.S. History, and his work appears in Civil War History. He is currently working on a manuscript that explores the experiences of Black soldiers in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands to make sense of developments related to race, gender, and citizenship during the post-Civil War era.