Virginia Center for Civil War Studies

Previous Events

To view recordings of recent events, check out our youtube channel.

Tues April 26, 2022, 7:00 – 8:15 PM ET. “Love and Duty: Confederate Widows and the Emotional Politics of Loss.” A free online lecture and discussion with Dr. Angela Elder about her new book.

April 21-23, 2022. The Great Strike: Slavery During the American Civil War. The center sponsored an academic conference exploring the history of slavery and enslaved people during the war years. Keynote lectures were delivered by Dr. Crystal Feimster and Dr. Jaime Martinez.

March 25-27, 2022. Civil War Weekend: A Tribute to Dr. Bud. This year our annual weekend event commemorated the remarkable life and career of our founding director, Dr. James I. “Bud” Robertson, Jr. (1930-2019).

Mar 15, 2022. “Rites of Retaliation: Civilization, Soldiers, and Campaigns in the American Civil War.” A free online lecture and discussion with Dr. Lorien Foote. View the recording on our youtube channel.

Jan 24, 2022. “Celia, A Slave at 30: Revisiting a Classic in the History of Slavery and the Civil War Era.” A panel discussion with Celia author Dr. Melton McLaurin and 30th anniversary edition foreword authors Dr. Daina Ramey Berry and Dr. Jennifer L. Morgan. View the recording on our youtube channel.

Nov 16, 2021. “Choctaw Confederates: The American Civil War in Indian Country.” A free online lecture and discussion with Dr. Fay Yarbrough. View the recording on our youtube channel.

Nov 6, 2021. “Lies and Truths of the African American Soldiers in the United States Colored Troops of the Civil War.” The center helped sponsor a panel discussion at Historic Smithfield in Blacksburg, featuring panelists Dr. Kerri Moseley-Hobbs, Kevin Levin, and Dr. Caroline Newhall.

Oct 12, 2021. “Ends of War: The Unfinished Fight of Lee’s Army after Appomattox.” A free online lecture and discussion with Dr. Caroline Janney. View the recording on our youtube channel.

April 22, 2021. “The Families’ Civil War.” A free lecture and discussion with Dr. Holly Pinheiro, part of the “New Perspectives on the Civil War Era” speaker series. View the recording on our youtube channel.

Apr 8, 2021. “At the Threshold of Liberty: Women, Slavery, and Shifting Identities in Washington, D.C.” A free lecture and discussion with Dr. Tamika Y. Nunley, part of the “New Perspectives on the Civil War Era” speaker series. View the recording on our youtube channel.

March 2021. Virtual Civil War Weekend. Our pandemic-era Civil War Weekend presented three online panel discussions exploring the theme “Resources for War.” Each speaker explored what Americans needed in order to wage war–ranging from military needs like manpower and ammunition to intangibles such as information, memory, and love. View the recordings on our youtube channel.

Feb 26, 2021. “Confederate Boat Burners and Naval Guerrillas on the Lower Mississippi.” A free lecture and discussion with Dr. Laura June Davis, part of the “New Perspectives on the Civil War Era” online speaker series. View the recording on our youtube channel.

Feb 8, 2021. “The Birth of a Genre: 100 Years of Slavery on the Silver Screen.” A free lecture and discussion with Dr. Matthew Christopher Hulbert, part of the “New Perspectives on the Civil War Era” speaker series. View the recording on our youtube channel.

Nov 30, 2020. “The False Cause: Fraud, Fabrication, and White Supremacy in Confederate Memory.” A free lecture and discussion with Dr. Adam H. Domby, part of the “New Perspectives on the Civil War Era” speaker series. View the recording on our youtube channel.

Oct 27, 2020. “America’s Original Opioid Crisis: Civil War Veterans and Opiate Addiction.” A free lecture and discussion with Dr. Jonathan Jones, part of the “New Perspectives on the Civil War Era” speaker series. View the recording on our youtube channel or on C-SPAN.

Oct 6, 2020. “Researching Civil War African Americans Workshop.” Our two expert presenters provided tips on the best methods and resources (many of them online), shared their own research experiences, and answered audience questions. Dr. Caroline Wood Newhall is the postdoctoral fellow at Virginia Tech’s Virginia Center for Civil War Studies, and an expert in Black POWs who were captured by the Confederacy. Dr. Kerri Moseley-Hobbs is a historian who wrote about her own enslaved ancestors in the book More than a Fraction.  View the recording on our youtube channel here.

Download Dr. Newhall’s Researching Civil War African Americans handout.

Sept 10, 2020. “‘Under the Rebel Lash’: Black Prisoners of War in the Confederate South.” A free lecture and discussion with VCCWS postdoc Dr. Caroline Wood Newhall, part of the “New Perspectives on the Civil War Era” speaker series. View the recording on our youtube channel or on C-SPAN.

Feb 21 – Mar 27, 2020. LLI Class–The American Civil War: Causes, Course, and Consequences. The Virginia Center for Civil War Studies partnered with Blacksburg’s Lifelong Learning Institute to present this team-taught class, investigating the conflict that almost destroyed the United States.

Feb 15, 2020. Civil War Film Series: Lincoln (2012). A free screening followed by a discussion led by Lincoln expert Edna Greene Medford (Howard University).

May 30 – June 1, 2019. Conference: Microhistories of the Civil War Era. The conference was organized by postdoctoral associate Caitlin Verboon and featured 26 speakers including keynote speakers Judith Giesberg and Richard Bell.

April 24, 2019. “The Calculus of Violence: How Americans Fought the Civil War.” A lecture by Aaron Sheehan-Dean (Louisiana State University) on his new book.

April 12, 2019.“Scarlett Plays Politics: Gender and Nationalism on the Confederate Home Front.” A lunchtime conversation with Kristen Brill (Keele University, UK), recipient of a VCCWS research grant.

March 24-26, 2019. Spring Campaign: The Virginia Peninsula. A two-night field trip to the historic sites of the Virginia Peninsula, including Fort Monroe, battlefields of McClellan’s Peninsula Campaign, and The Mariners’ Museum, led by expert guide Jonathan White.

March 22-24, 2019. Civil War Weekend. Our 28th annual Civil War Weekend focused on the leadership brought forth by America’s greatest crisis–from Lincoln, Grant, and Lee to Robert Smalls and Ann Pamela Cunningham.

Friday February 22, 2019. 12:15 p.m. “Empire on the Run: Refugees, Confederate Exiles, and the Gulf South at the End of the Civil War.” Lecture by Angela Diaz of Utah State University.

October 27, 2018. Civil War Film Series: Pharaoh’s Army (1995). Screening and discussion by Appalachian Civil War expert Brian McKnight.

October 24, 2018. “Researching Your Civil War Ancestor.” A free workshop on how to research your great, great whoever.

September 7, 2018. “Making Space: Race and Southern Cities in the Civil War Era.” A free lecture by Caitlin Verboon, the VCCWS postdoctoral associate for 2018-2019.

April 16, 2018. Researching your Civil War Ancestor. A free workshop on how to research your great, great-whoever.

March 18-20, 2018. Spring Campaign: The Shenandoah Valley. A two-night field trip to the beautiful Shenandoah Valley, including a visit to the historic town of Lexington and a tour of “Stonewall” Jackson’s 1862 Valley Campaign, led by expert guide Jonathan Noyalas.

March 16-18, 2018. Civil War Weekend. Our 27th annual Civil War Weekend explored the theme of “Civil War Places,” from Shiloh to Appomattox, from Richmond’s Historic Tredegar to Arlington National Cemetery.

Feb 16, 2018. “Between Slavery and the Want of Railroads: Reconstruction in Western North Carolina.” A lecture by Steven Nash (East Tennessee State University), part of the Legacies of Reconstruction Series.

Oct 25, 2017. “More than a Fraction: Discovering my Enslaved Ancestors at Smithfield Plantation.” A free lecture by Dr. Kerri Moseley-Hobbs, co-sponsored with the Smithfield-Preston Foundation.

Oct 7, 2017. Civil War Film Series: The Free State of Jones (2016). Dr. Victoria E. Bynum, author of the book The Free State of Jones, discussed the history behind the movie.

June 28, 2017. Mapping the Fourth Exhibit Reception. A reception showcasing a Newman Library exhibit on “Mapping the Fourth of July.”

June 30, 2017. Fourth of July “Transcribeathon.” An opportunity to try out our Mapping the Fourth of July website with expert guidance. 

April 29, 2017. “Death and Dying in the American Civil War: How accurate is Mercy Street‘s depiction?” A lecture and screening with award-winning historian Dr. Shauna Devine, historical consultant for the hit PBS series “Mercy Street,” at the Lyric Theatre.

April 29, 2017. Civil War cemetery tour.  A walking tour led by Smithfield Museum Director April Danner, of the Westview and Preston Cemeteries.

April 28, 2017. “Buried in Blacksburg” Exhibit Reception.  This exhibit, hosted by the Alexander Black House, showcased the research of VCCWS postdoc Angela Elder’s students.

March 17-19 2017. Civil War WeekendSpeakers at our 26th annual Civil War Weekend included former VCCWS directors James I. “Bud” Robertson, Jr., and William C. “Jack” Davis. Among the lecture topics were Confederate widows, Stonewall Jackson, and international diplomacy.

March 19-21 2017. Spring Campaign: Petersburg. An optional two-night field trip immediately following Civil War Weekend. We enjoyed a memorable trip to the city where the Civil War entered its final stages, including a guided tour of Petersburg National Battlefield, a behind-the-scenes visit to Pamplin Historical Park, and meals in historic restaurants.

March 31, 2017. “What the Freedmen Desire: Sidney Andrews’ and John Dennett’s Perspectives on the Freedmen and the Post-Civil War South.” A lecture by Darin Waters (UNC-Asheville), part of the Legacies of Reconstruction series, organized by Dennis Halpin and Paul Quigley.

Feb 15, 2017. “Cardomania! How the carte de visite became the Facebook of the 1860s.” A lecture by Ronald S. Coddington. 

Feb 10, 2017. “Until Freedom is Proclaimed throughout the World: African American Global Visions of Reconstruction.” A lecture by Paul Ortiz. Part of the Legacies of Reconstruction series, organized by Dennis Halpin and Paul Quigley.

Oct 29, 2016. Civil War Film Series: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012). A special Halloween screening of Lincoln’s crusade against the vampires fighting to destroy the United States concluded with a Historic Halloween costume contest.

Oct 26, 2016. “Remembering America’s Second Founding: Reconstruction and Public History.” A lecture by Kate Masur, part of the Legacies of Reconstruction series, organized by Dennis Halpin and Paul Quigley. 

Oct 13-15, 2016. Reconciliation after Civil Wars: Global Perspectives, Arlington, Va. A conference sponsored by the Virginia Center for Civil War Studies and Virginia Tech’s Center for Peace Studies and Violence Prevention.

Oct 1, 2016.  Civil War Film Series: Ride with the Devil (1999). VCCWS faculty Angela Elder and Paul Quigley discussed the movie’s historical significance.

Sept 23, 2016. “The American Civil War, Emotional Politics, and the Widows of the Confederacy.” A lecture by Angela Elder, 2016-17 VCCWS Postdoctoral Associate.

Sept 9, 2016. “The Great New Orleans Kidnapping Case of 1870 and the Fate of Reconstruction.” A lecture by Michael Ross (Maryland), part of the Legacies of Reconstruction series organized by Dennis Halpin and Paul Quigley.

April 26, 2016. “Capital Dames: The Civil War and the Women of Washington, 1848-1868.” A free public lecture and book signing by Cokie Roberts, political commentator for ABC News and NPR and author of Capital Dames. Sponsored by the Virginia Center for Civil War Studies with support from the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, the Department of Communication, and the Department of History.

April 2, 2016. Civil War Film Series. The Retrieval (2013).

April 1, 2016. “The Freedwoman’s Tale: Reconstruction Remembered in the Federal Writers’ Project Ex-Slave Narratives.” A lecture by Carole Emberton, part of the “Legacies of Reconstruction” series organized by Dennis Halpin and Paul Quigley.

March 18-20, 2016. The 25th annual Civil War Weekend showcased Virginia Tech’s many contributions to Civil War history.

November 7, 2015. Civil War Film Series. Cold Mountain (2003). With expert commentary from Professor Emily Satterwhite (Virginia Tech).

November 5, 2015. “Unfinished Revolutions: Black Lives, State Violence, and the Second Reconstruction.”  A lecture by Adriane Lentz-Smith (Duke), part of the “Legacies of Reconstruction” series organized by Dennis Halpin and Paul Quigley.

October 21, 2015. “CSI Dixie: Death Investigation in the Civil War Era South.” A lecture by Steven Berry, Gregory Professor of the Civil War Era at the University of Georgia.

October 10, 2015. Civil War Film Series. The Red Badge of Courage (1951). With expert commentary from Professor Paul Sorrentino, acclaimed biographer of Stephen Crane.

September 25, 2015. “The Strange Career of ‘Social Equality’:  Race, Space, and the Segregation of Cemeteries in Postemancipation Arkansas.” A lecture by Hannah Rosen (William and Mary), part of the “Legacies of Reconstruction” series organized by Dennis Halpin and Paul Quigley.

September 17, 2015. “Disunion, Then and Now: The New York Times and the Civil War at 150.” A lecture by Clay Risen, senior editor at the New York Times op-ed page who oversaw the newspaper’s sesquicentennial coverage.

July 30-August 2, 2015. Remaking North American Sovereignty. The Center was proud to support this innovative international conference comparing the political crises of the 1860s in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.

May 24-29, 2015. The Virginia Tech Summer Civil War Seminar: Campaigning with Lee. Richmond, VA. This year’s seminar heard from a stellar cast of speakers, including Edward L. Ayers, James I. “Bud” Robertson, Jr., Robert E. L. Krick, Christy Coleman, and many more. We also attended the once-in-a-lifetime Virginia Sesquicentennial Finale Concert; took a 150th anniversary guided tour of Lee’s retreat to Appomattox; and visited the Museum of the Confederacy.

April 23-25, 2015. Citizenship in the Era of the American Civil War. An academic conference exploring the many transformations in citizenship that took place during the era of the Civil War. Featuring 24 speakers from across the United States and Europe.

April 10-11, 2015. Symposium, Lincoln in our Time. Five renowned Lincoln scholars came together to discuss Lincoln’s place in American culture, marking the 150th anniversary of his assassination. The symposium also included a screening of Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln” movie.

April 7, 2015. “The Cause of All Nations: An International History of the American Civil War.”  Distinguished historian Don H. Doyle delivered a lecture that explored the wide-ranging international significance of the American Civil War.

March 31, 2015. “Citizens of Heaven and of the United States:  Black Protestants in the Age of Emancipation.” A lecture by Charles Irons, Chair of the History Department at Elon University. Sponsored by the Residential College with support from VT’s Department of Religion and Culture and the Virginia Center for Civil War Studies.

March 13-15, 2015. Civil War Weekend. The 24th annual weekend of Civil War events took place on the campus of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg. This year’s Civil War Weekend featured talks from James I. “Bud” Robertson, Jr., William C. “Jack” Davis, Margaret Humphreys, and more–plus an opportunity to hear about Tech graduate students’ research and outreach projects.

March 2, 2015. 5 p.m. Opening reception, “Lincoln in Our Time” Exhibition. Newman Library, 2nd floor. To mark the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, VCCWS postdoc Kimberly Kutz created an exhibition that explored reactions to the assassination and Lincoln’s enduring legacy in American life. Featuring documents from VT Special Collections, relics such as fabric from Lincoln’s coffin, and videos produced by VT students. The exhibition will be on display until April 15, and accompanies the April 10-11 symposium “Lincoln in Our Time” (see below).

February 14, 2015, 1 p.m. Civil War Film Series. Young Mr. Lincoln (1939). Lincoln scholar Kimberly Kutz, the 2014-15 VCCWS Postdoctoral Fellow, discussed the movie’s contributions to the ever-evolving Lincoln legend.

December 8, 2014. VCCWS Research Grants recipients lunch. History faculty and graduate students discussed the research of recipients of the grant program administered by the VCCWS and VT’s Special Collections.

November 8, 2014. Civil War Film Series. 12 Years a Slave (2013). Fred D’Aguiar of the VT English Department joined VCCWS director Paul Quigley to discuss the significance of this acclaimed movie about a free African American man kidnapped into slavery.

October 23, 2015. “Using Social Computing to Solve Historical Mysteries.” Virginia Tech Computer Science Professor Kurt Luther visited the history department and delivered a talk on the application of social computing methods to study the Civil War and other aspects of American history.

October 18, 2015. Civil War Film Series: Shenandoah (1965). The University of Georgia’s Prof. John Inscoe visited Blacksburg to speak on the significance of Shenandoah to Civil War and Appalachian history. A lively discussion with the audience followed.

September 24, 2014. “Images of Lincoln’s Ghost and Mourning after the Civil War.” A talk given by VCCWS postdoc Kim Kutz as part of the Department of Religion and Culture’s Brown Bag series.

June 22-27, 2014. Campaigning with Lee summer seminar, Ashburn, Virginia. A group of VT alumni and friends toured the Second Bull Run battlefield and Mosby’s Confederacy, and heard talks on subjects ranging from “The Stench of Death” to “The Long Shadow of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.”

April 12, 2014. Civil War Film Series: The Outlaw Josey Wales (1967). ASPECT PhD student Joe Forte joined VCCWS director Paul Quigley to discuss Josey Wales and its significance for both Civil War history and the western film genre.

March 14-16, 2014. Civil War Weekend. VT Alumni and other Civil War enthusiasts gathered at the Inn at Virginia Tech for the 23rd annual Civil War Weekend. In addition to talks by former VCCWS director James I. Robertson, Jr. and William C. Davis, and other speakers, attendees got to see a nineteenth-century photography demonstration.

February 21, 2014. “Visualizing Emancipation and the Affordances of Digital Humanities.” A talk by Scott Nesbit, associate director of the Digital Scholarship Lab at the University of Richmond.

February 15, 2014. Civil War Film Series: Glory (1989). VCCWS director Paul Quigley and Wornie Reed, Professor of Sociology and Director of Race and Social Policy Research at Virginia Tech, discussed the historical contexts of black enlistment and the portrayal of African Americans in Hollywood movies.

October 19, 2013. Civil War Film Series: Gone with the Wind (1939). The inaugural event in the Center’s Civil War Film Series included an introduction by VCCWS director Paul Quigley and a free screening of this classic Lost Cause interpretation of the Civil War era.


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