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Symposium: The Civil War and Reconstruction in the Border States

History and Memory at the Sesquicentennial

Four nationally recognized speakers and former colleagues of President Williams will visit campus Thursday, April 28, to take part in the symposium, "The Civil War and Reconstruction in the Border States: History and Memory at the Sesquicentennial," in Haggin Auditorium at 3 p.m. The symposium, held as part of the events celebrating the inauguration of Williams as Transylvania's 25th president, is free and open to the public.

Moderated by Jed Shugerman, assistant professor of law, Harvard University
Presentations by David W. Blight, professor of American History, Yale University; Annette Gordon-Reed, professor of law and history, Harvard University; and John McCardell Jr., vice-chancellor and president, The University of the South.


In September 2011, Kentucky Educational Television aired an hour-long version of the symposium. DVDs of that special can be ordered here for $12 by selecting "Miscellaneous Conferences" from the menu on the left, then selecting "Civil War DVD."

Jed Shugerman

Jed ShugermanJed 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 (Harvard University Press, Sept. 2011), 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.

Shugerman received B.A., J.D., and Ph.D. degrees in history from Yale University. His dissertation won the American Society for Legal History's Cromwell Prize for the best article or dissertation in American legal history in 2008.

Video from symposium

David W. Blight

David BlightDavid W. Blight is Class of 1954 Professor of American History at Yale University and director of the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition at Yale. During the 2010-11 academic year, he is Rogers Distinguished Fellow in Nineteenth Century American History at the Huntington Library, San Marino, Cal. In 2006-07, he was a fellow at the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Writers and Scholars, New York Public Library.

Blight is 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 at work 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 (Harcourt, 2007), 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 (Harvard University Press, 2001), 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.

Blight received a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and has taught at Harvard University. He was senior Fulbright professor in American Studies at the University of Munich in Germany in 1992-93.

He served on the board of advisers to the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission and is involved in planning numerous conferences and events to commemorate the sesquicentennial of the Civil War.

Video from symposium

Video of honorary degree presentation

Annette Gordon-Reed

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.

Gordon-Reed is the author of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy (1997), Vernon Can Read: A Memoir with Vernon Jordan (2001), and The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family (2008), 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 (2002). 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.

Gordon-Reed was previously the Wallace Stevens Professor of Law at New York Law School and the Board of Governors Professor of History at Rutgers University-Newark. Prior to her academic career, she was counsel to the New York City Board of Correction an associate at Cahill Gordon & Reindel in New York.

Gordon-Reed received a J.D. from Harvard Law School, where she served as an editor for the Harvard Law Review, and an A.B. from Dartmouth College.

Video from symposium

Video of honorary degree presentation

John McCardell Jr.

John McCardell Jr.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.

McCardell 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 theeffectiveness of current drinking-age laws.

A graduate of Washington and Lee University, he did his graduate work at The Johns Hopkins University and Harvard University, where he received a Ph.D. in history.

Video from symposium