Staying Busy

I’ve neglected this blog for the past few weeks while preparing  paper proposals for different conferences. The process for such is very tedious work, but it pays large dividends in networking and building a resume.  The two Conferences I’ve set my sights on are the Georgia Association of Historians (GAH) conference, set for March 2014, and the Southern Historical Association (the Southern) annual meeting, scheduled for November 2014. For the GAH, I teamed up with an academic colleague of mine, Jonathan Winskie. Winskie and I presented together at the Appalachian Studies Association (ASA) conference last March. We put together an entire session for the GAH, focusing more on intellectual history of the Civil War. Below is the introductory paragraph from our proposal.

Proposal: Internal Struggles of the Civil War: The Reciprocal Nature of Ideas in War and   History

The Civil War is the climatic struggle in the adolescence of the United States. Every year, thousands of Americans flock to numerous battlefields, museums and cemeteries to pay homage to a pivotal event that claimed the lives of over six hundred thousand people.  In the history of this struggle, battles and their notable figures hold a monopoly over the public narrative of the war. This session intends to embrace more obscure topics that nevertheless helped to shape the war and public perception of it.  The papers in this session will address key concepts that affected and/or were affected by the war: the cultural baggage of honor that pushed southern men into war, how soldiers interacted with and were thus affected by their environment, and how the general public chooses to remember specific elements of the war concerning race.

In the future, I may elaborate on our session more by submitting summaries of each paper to be presented. We also expressed our wish to be considered as a GAH sponsored session, which would definitely go a long way to advance our research in the field. More on this to come later.

For the Southern, unable to put together an entire session, I submitted a proposal for an individual paper presentation. The Southern is a much more notable Historical Association that holds a great deal of prestige in the field. To be accepted as a presenter would truly be a great honor. For the proposal to the Southern, I focused more on research that I am doing for my thesis. That research focuses on how the American military evolved after the War of 1812 concerning military policy, and how those changes impacted things such as martial culture, organization and race.  Below is the proposal for the Southern.

Title: Taking the Offensive: Race and Military Policy in the Early Antebellum Era, 1814-1819

After the War of 1812, American military policy evolved with the country’s nationalist sentiment. What was once an army of defense, rapidly became an army of offense to fulfill the country’s expansionist policies. One change in policy during the antebellum period was the continued marginalization of blacks in the military. The United States’ first armed conflict after the War of 1812, the First Seminole War (1814-1819), was largely an attempt at recapturing runaway slaves and removing the slave sanctuary in the South requiring the removal of African Americans from military serviceThus, at the beginning of America’s wars of expansion, race was a factor in the tool of expansion and the subsequent settlement of conquered lands. Using Congressional Records and the correspondence of military officers and high ranking politicians, this paper examines the role of race in American expansionist and military policy during the early years of the antebellum era.

All I can do now is cross my fingers and hope for good news. In the mean time, Winskie and I will be putting together another session for the ASA Conference this coming March. I’m hoping it goes as well as last year’s.

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