College of Liberal Arts

University of Mississippi

Conference on the Civil War Explores Facets of Leadership

Civil War scholars and enthusiasts plan to gather Oct. 30-31 at the University of Mississippi for the university’s 2009 Conference on the Civil War.  This year’s symposium, titled “Leadership,” features presentations by a range of scholars and authors, as well as book signings, battlefield excursions, a speaker’s reception and opportunities to tour the historic UM campus. The event runs 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. both days in the E.F. Yerby Conference Center.

Leadership was chosen as this year’s focus because it has a broad appeal among Civil War scholars, said John Neff, UM associate professor of history and director of the Center for Civil War Research.

“Strategically, one of the things we try to do is to pick a topic that has not only broad appeal among the audience, but has appeal among Civil War scholars working on various topics who can find a broad connection to a larger topic,” Neff said. “By picking the topic of leadership, I opened the door to many kinds of Civil War historians. We have scholars coming to talk about leadership among African-Americans, women, and religious groups, as well as the more traditional military and political leadership topics.”

Joan Waugh, associate professor of history at the University of California at Los Angeles, is slated for the keynote address. She is the author of several books on the Civil War, including “The Memory of the Civil War in American Culture,” “Wars Within a War: Controversy and Conflict over the American Civil War” and the recent “U.S. Grant: American Hero, American Myth.”

“Waugh has emerged in recent years as a real leading force in interpretations about Civil War memory,” Neff said. “She seemed the perfect person to bring new interpretations and perspectives even though she was writing about a traditional leadership topic.”

Other speakers include Alisea Williams Mcleod of Indiana University at South Bend, Jim Downs of Connecticut College, Carole Emberton of the State University of New York at Buffalo, Kanisorn Wongsrichanalai and William B. Kurtz of the University of Virginia, Karen A. Kehoe of St. Vincent College, Jennifer Newman Trevino of the University of Texas-Pan American, Glenn W. LaFantasie of Western Kentucky University, Harry S. Laver of Southeastern Louisiana University, Timothy B. Smith of the University of Tennessee at Martin, Brian Craig Miller of Emporia State University, Toby Glenn Bates of Mississippi State University, Mark R. Cheathem of Cumberland University and Rodney J. Steward of Auburn University.

The conference fee is $35 and includes lectures and receptions. Educators qualify for a reduced registration fee of $25. Teachers who wish to receive 1.3 Continuing Education Units should include a separate $20 check made payable to the University of Mississippi. UM students may attend free but registration is required.

The conference is sponsored by the university’s Center for Civil War Research, Department of History, and Division of Outreach and Continuing Education.

For more information or to register, visit or call 662-915-1408. For assistance related to a disability, call 662-915-1408.