Historian tells how Americans view Civil War through popular culture

March 12, 2004

University Park, Pa. -- What recent popular culture tells us about how Americans see the Civil War will be the focus of the 2004 Steven and Janice Brose Distinguished Lecture Series in the Era of the Civil War, given by Gary W. Gallagher, the John L. Nau III Professor of the History of the American Civil War at the University of Virginia and a former Penn State historian.

Gallagher will deliver three lectures and discuss the respective causes of the United State and the Confederacy as reflected in film and art, identifying long-term winners and losers, and speculating about why more violence has been done to some parts of the historical record than to others.

The Brose Lectures will occur on April 1, 2 and 3, in Pattee Library's Foster Auditorium on Penn State's University Park campus. Held every spring semester, these free lectures feature leading writers, historians, and intellectuals whose work focuses on the era of the American Civil War.

The schedule is as follows:
-Thursday, April 1, at 7 p.m.: "The True Lost Cause: Hollywood and the Elusive War for Union."
-Friday, April 2, at 7 p.m.: "God, Generals, Guerillas and Civilians: The Confederate War on Film."
-Saturday, April 3, at 3 p.m.: "Brushes, Canvases and the Image of War: The Ascendancy of Confederate Themes in Recent Civil War Art."

Gallagher is the author or editor of two dozen books on the Civil War, of which half have been History Book Club selections. Recent titles include "Lee and His Army in Confederate History," "The American Civil. War: The War in the East 1861-May 1863," "Lee and His Generals in War and Memory," and "The Confederate War."

His numerous awards and fellowships include a Times-Mirror Foundation Distinguished Fellowship at The Huntington Library in 2001-2002, and the Fletcher Pratt Award, for best non-fiction book on the Civil War, in 1998, for "Lee and His Generals in War and Memory." A sampling of his books will be available for signing by the author.

Prior to his position at Virginia, Gallagher taught in Penn State's Department of History for nine years, serving as head of the department for five years. He was one of the individuals instrumental in the development of the department's George and Ann Richards Civil War Era Center.

The Steven and Janice Brose Distinguished Lecture Series in the Era of The Civil War is supported by an endowment established by the Broses in 1998, originally to support a single lecture by a distinguished visitor. The Brose added to the endowment in 2001, allowing a distinguished lecturer to deliver three related lectures over three days. The Broses' generosity has enabled Penn State and the Richards Center to enter an agreement with the University of Virginia Press, which will publish the lectures as part of a series of scholarly monographs.

For more information on the lectures, the speaker or the Richards Center, contact the Center at 814-863-0151. Its web site is at: http://www3.la.psu.edu/histrlst/inst/welcome.html

Last Updated July 28, 2017