"The American Civil War in a Global Context" Signature Conference

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May 15, 2014 - 5:00 pm Registration Deadline

The American Civil War in a Global Context 21014 Signaturee Conference

The American Civil War in a Global ContextThe American Civil War in a Global Context, is the sixth installment in the highly-acclaimed annual Signature Conference series sponsored by the Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission.

This program examines the Civil War from an intriguing perspective. The Civil War was an intense struggle in the United States, but it was also an international event in many ways. Considering it from this standpoint provides a number of unexpected connections between the American crisis and the wider world, while shedding new light on civil war itself.

Historians of international acclaim will discuss the impact of the Civil War in areas ranging from the global cotton trade, to international abolition efforts, to changes in the future of military operations, to the implications of the Civil War as one of the first wars fought in an industrial age. Dr. Peter N. Stearns, Provost and Professor of History at George Mason University, chairs the program. 

Exclusive for Signature Conference attendees:

  • Get the latest on sesquicentennial events across Virginia at a lunchtime "Ask the Commission" session with Commission members and staff  
  • Special tours and lectures to complement the Signature Conference weekend are being planned by local partners including the Civil War Sesquicentennial Committees from Fairfax County and the City of Fairfax.  See also these helpful websites for planning your trip to Fairfax

2014 Signature Conference Speakers

Tentative Conference Schedule

Friday, May 30

7:30 PM  Pre-Conference Special Program (Open to the public)

                 Location: GMU Johnson Center, George's

"Treason, Stupidity, or Cowardice": The Union Defeat at Ball’s Bluff and the Formation of the Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War   Details

Christopher Hamner, George Mason University

Saturday, May 31

7:30 AM  Doors open - Center for the Arts

9:30 AM  Welcome Remarks

9:45 AM  Panel I: Context and History

  • Nationalism and Separatism: A Global Perspective of the American Civil War

             Niels Eichhorn, Middle Georgia State College

  • The Statecraft of Secession and War: How Foreign Powers Unintentionally Shaped the Start of War

             Brian Schoen, Ohio University

  • The American Civil War and Italian National Unification: Comparisons and Connections between the Confederate South and Southern Italy

             Enrico Dal Lago, National University of Ireland, Galway

10:45 AM - Break

11:00 AM - Panel II: Diplomatic and Military Impacts

  • The Union Navy’s Blockade of the Confederacy: Tradition Bound or a Betrayal of America’s Birthright?

             David Surdam, University of Northern Iowa

  • Iron Lion or Paper Tiger?: The Myth of British Naval Intervention in the American Civil War

             Howard Fuller, University of Wolverhampton

  • American Blood and Iron: The Civil War and the World's Militaries

            Jeanne and David Heidler, USAF Academy

Noon - Lunch  Ask the Commission (optional lunchtime program). Featured speaker: James I. Robertson, Jr.

1:15 PM - Panel III: Comparative Case Studies

  • "Democracy on Its Trial" The Hoary Question of the American Civil War and British Reform

              Hugh Dubrulle, Saint Anselm College

  • Imperialism and Civil War in Mid-Century East Asia

             Brian Platt, George Mason University

  • First Fruit of the South’s Secession: The United States, the Caribbean, and Latin America during the Civil War

             Kenneth Blume, Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences

2:15 PM - Break

2:30 PM - Panel IV: Question and Answer

3:30 PM - Concluding Remarks

  • Why Civil War Americans Cared about Europe - and Why Europeans Cared about the American Civil War

             Paul Quigley, Virginia Tech

4:15 PM - Meet and Greet/Book Signing