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Inaugural symposium on the Civil War features nationally recognized historians and authors David W. Blight, Annette Gordon-Reed, John McCardell Jr. and Jed Shugerman

LEXINGTON, Ky.—Four nationally recognized speakers will discuss “The Civil War and Reconstruction in the Border States: History and Memory at the Sesquicentennial,” on Thursday, April 28, at 3 p.m. in Haggin Auditorium. The symposium, part of the inauguration celebration of R. Owen Williams as the 25th president of Transylvania University, is free and open to the public.

The symposium topic is the focus of Williams’s scholarly work and the panelists—David W. Blight, professor of American history at Yale University; Annette Gordon-Reed, professor of law and history at Harvard University; John McCardell Jr., vice chancellor and president of The University of the South; and Jed Shugerman (moderator), assistant professor of law at Harvard—are former colleagues.

Panelist: David W. Blight is professor of American history at Yale University and director of the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition at Yale. He is the author of “The Civil War in Modern Memory: Robert Penn Warren, Bruce Catton, Edmund Wilson, James Baldwin,” to be published in September by Harvard University Press. He is working on a biography of Frederick Douglass, scheduled for publication in 2013 by Simon and Shuster. Blight’s book, “A Slave No More: Two Men Who Escaped to Freedom, Including their Narratives of Emancipation,” focuses on rare slave narratives that were the subject of a front page story in the New York Times in 2004. Blight also wrote “Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory,” which received eight book awards, including the Bancroft Prize, the Abraham Lincoln Prize and the Frederick Douglass Prize, as well as four awards from the Organization of American Historians.

Blight has written and edited numerous essays, book reviews and textbooks, and has consulted on several documentary films, including the PBS series, The Reconstruction. His Yale lecture course, The Civil War and Reconstruction Era, is available on-line.

Panelist: Annette Gordon-Reed
is a professor of law and professor of history at Harvard University and is the Carol K. Pforzheimer Professor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies at Harvard. She is the author of “Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy,” “Vernon Can Read: A Memoir with Vernon Jordan” and “The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family,” for which she won 16 awards including the Pulitzer Prize in History, the National Book Award and the Frederick Douglass Book Prize. She also served as editor of “Race on Trial: Law and Justice in American History.” Her latest book, “Andrew Johnson,” was published in January.

Gordon-Reed received the 2009 National Humanities Medal and a MacArthur Fellowship in 2010. She is currently a fellow at the New York Public Library’s Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers and a Guggenheim Fellow.

Panelist: John McCardell Jr., was appointed the 16th vice-chancellor and president of the University of the South in 2010. He is a distinguished historian, a national leader in liberal arts education and a respected figure in the public discussion about higher education and student life. He is the author of “The Idea of a Southern Nation,” developed from his Ph.D. dissertation, as well as many essays, chapters, articles and book reviews. His specialty is U.S. history in the 19th century with emphasis on the South and on American historiography.

McCardell joined the history faculty at Middlebury College in 1976 and held a number of administrative posts, including provost and vice president for academic affairs, before being named president in 1992. He served as chairman of the NCAA Division III Presidents’ Council and led a comprehensive reform effort. In 2007 he founded Choose Responsibility, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to engage the public in informed and dispassionate debate about the effects of legislation mandating a legal drinking age of 21. In 2008 he co-sponsored the Amethyst Initiative, a statement signed by 135 college and university presidents that challenges the effectiveness of current drinking-age laws.

Moderator: Jed Shugerman is an assistant professor at Harvard Law School. His research interests include American legal history, constitutional law and theory, criminal procedure and the death penalty, state and federal courts and torts.

His forthcoming book, “The People’s Courts: Pursuing Judicial Independence in America,” examines the unique American practice of judicial elections from the colonial era to the present. Shugerman has published articles in the Harvard Law Review, the Yale Law Journal, the Georgetown Law Journal and the Journal of the Early Republic. He is a member of the Harvard Kennedy School’s Executive Session for State Court Leaders in the 21st Century.

For more information, contact the public relations office at (859) 233-8120.