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The American Civil War was a watershed moment in our nation’s history. Indeed, the questions it resolved and the issues it engendered continue to resonate today. Shepherd University’s George Tyler Moore Center for the Study of the Civil War (GTMC) and Department of History invite undergraduate students from across the country to come and spend a semester at our historic crossroads. Under the current leadership of Dr. James J. Broomall, the GTMC has provided educational programming and historical research since 1993. We have long-standing partnerships with National Park Service sites, historic museums, preservation groups, and cultural resources. Our semester-long Civil War experience will immerse a select group of undergraduate students in: collaborative learning, interpretive field experiences, digital humanities projects, public history programs, and a “war and society” approach to military history.

Students in the Civil War Semester will be housed together on campus at Shepherd University and are encouraged to take at least 15 credit hours. Throughout the semester, Dr. Broomall and his colleagues will guide students on résumé-building projects including collaborative opportunities with local and regional historic sites and museums, developing and publishing content in public history/digital humanities/historic preservation, and participation in Shepherdstown’s annual Civil War Christmas program. Moreover, students will have ample opportunities to experience the region’s rich Civil War history. Shepherdstown, West Virginia was not only the site of the last major engagement of the 1862 Maryland Campaign but the town also witnessed three major crossings of Civil War armies at nearby Boetler’s Ford. The region faced the destructive hand of guerrilla troops, experienced the pressures of housing wounded men and active soldiers, and suffered from the war’s devastating environmental effects.

Historic Shepherdstown is approximately 50 miles from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania; Washington D.C.; Baltimore, Maryland; and Winchester, Virginia. It is only five miles from Antietam National Battlefield and twelve miles from Harpers Ferry National Historical Park.

Proposed program of study:

HIST 304, American Civil War and Reconstruction Era: This class is an overview of the causes, fighting, and outcomes of the American Civil War and the period of Reconstruction after the war. The course first considers the political, economic, and social dimensions of sectionalism in antebellum America and we will visit Harpers Ferry, the site of John Brown’s famed 1859 raid. The class will then explore the goals of both the Union and the Confederacy, the ways in which they achieved those goals, and how the contingencies of war required changes in both means and ends. Students will visit Gettysburg National Military Park and Antietam National Battlefield. Lastly, we will explore the political and social ramifications of Reconstruction, connecting the themes of this period back to the war years and ahead to the last decades of the nineteenth century. Throughout the semester students will immerse themselves in primary source documents, secondary literature, and material culture.

HPPH 335, New Media and Digital History: Students will produce a digital project housed on cloud-based storage. The database will be hosted on Google Docs/Flicker and the public interface is Wordpress. Each project considers: narrative/biography, economic data, and social networking. Students will: use the Civil War Soldiers Database housed at the GTMC; use KUMU for the network analysis of regimental muster roles; do geographic analysis through Google Fusion tables and Storymap. The professor on record may opt to create a hybrid-course on the COPLAC digital model.

HPPH 328, Battlefield Preservation: This course surveys the development of battlefield preservation in the United States from the formation of the Gettysburg Battlefield Memorial Association in 1864 to recent efforts to expand the definition of threatened battlefields by the American Battlefield Protection programs of the National Park Service. Sites from the French and Indian War to World War II will be features with special focus on Civil War Battlefield Preservation efforts since the Civil War centennial.

HIST 345, Introduction to Public History: This course examines how academic history reaches wider audiences and the way in which history and memory shape culture, politics, and collective identity. The course, which includes field trips to historic sites, also introduces students to potential sources of employment for historians in non-academic settings.

HIST 430, Civil War Seminar, “Field Experiences in Civil War Studies”: This seminar explores the military dimensions of the American Civil War and considers the conflict’s social and cultural consequences. Students will conduct a detailed study of nineteenth-century American military culture and the major battles and battlefields of the Civil War’s eastern theater. Students will participate in day-long field experiences at Harpers Ferry, Manassas, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Cedar Creek, and Washington D.C. Additionally, we will have two weekend-long trips: one to Gettysburg and another to Richmond/Petersburg. Students will compile weekly journals to comment on the battle site and to respond to assigned readings. This course serves as a core for the Civil War Semester.

Additional Courses:

APST 309: West Virginia and the Appalachian Region

APST 345: Appalachian Folk Tales and Storytelling

APST 358: Appalachian Literature

ENGL 312: American Literature to 1900

ENGL 341: The Victorians, Seeds of Modernism

ENGL 407: Seminar in American Literature

HPPH 325: Oral History

HPPH 330: Living History Interpretation

HPPH 371: Documentation of Historic Properties

HIST 305: History of the Lower Shenandoah Valley

HIST 309: West Virginia and the Appalachian Region