Heading to Chattanooga! The 2016 Society of Civil War Historians Conference

 Chattanooga in the Civil War; Lookout Mountain Looms in the Background

Chattanooga in the Civil War; Lookout Mountain Looms in the Background

The Society of Civil War Historians hosts their biennial conference in historic Chattanooga, Tennessee this week, and starting Thursday (June 2), Civil War historians from around the country will converge on Chattanooga to "talk shop," if you will. This includes Civil Discourse's Katie Thompson, Zac Cowsert, and Chuck Welsko, and we hope to bring you all with us as we poke around Chickamauga, take ourselves to the cutting edge of scholarship, present our own research, and generally have a damn good time in Tennessee.

Two of our authors, Katie Thompson and Zac Cowsert, will be presenting their own research at the conference. Zac Cowsert's panel, "Politics, Division, and Destruction: The Civil War in Indian Territory," kicks off bright and early at 8:30 am on Friday, June 3. Zac's paper, "Arms, Abolition, and the Politics of Fear: The Choctaw Nation Enters the Civil War," explores the messy politics and violent vigilantism within Choctaw Nation in the summer of 1861 which induced the Choctaw Indians to ally with the Confederate States. Alongside Zac on the panel are Kevin Hooper and Chelsea Frazier, who will discuss Cherokee and Cherokee-Creek involvement in the Civil War respectively.

Katie Thompson's panel, "Healing Invisible Wounds: Civil War Veterans, Veterans' Organizations, and Mental Trauma," closes out Friday's events at 2:30 pm. Katie's paper "'That the soldier was insane is not established': Insanity and Suicide in Civil War Pensions" exposes how some soldiers simply could not cope with the mental trauma the Civil War inflicted. John Kennedy and Christopher Bates join Katie in presenting their own work on institutional care for veterans as well as post-war veteran's reunions and wartime trauma, respectively.

There are of course a slew of fascinating other panels broaching a wide variety of topics, covering military, political, social/cultural, legal, memory, and environmental history and more. There will be reappraisals of George "Little Mac" McClellan's generalship. Discussions on Union wartime politics. Brainstorming sessions on how to freshly approach the ever-popular Gettysburg campaign. Roundtables on the Civil War West. Staunch defenses of why unit histories still matter. Breakdowns of how the environment shaped military campaigns. Frank explorations of Civil War-era sexuality. And much, much more. You can find the whole conference program here; it's worth a look.

 Soldiers of the 7th Illinois on Lookout Mountain

Soldiers of the 7th Illinois on Lookout Mountain

We'll be doing our best to live-tweet the sessions we attend. We'll be sure to hashtag our tweets as well (probably using #SCWH2016 or something similar). Our twitter handles: Zac Cowsert (@ZacCowsert), Katie Logothetis Thompson (@K_Logo_Thompson), and Chuck Welsko (@CWelsko). Of course you can also follow our blog's Twitter itself (@CD_HistoryBlog).

We'll keep our Instagram account (civildiscourseblog) hopping this week as well, both with pictures of our battlefield and cemetery forays (Chattanooga, Lookout Mountain, Missionary Ridge, Chickamauga, and some other surprises) and our conference experiences.

In the next few weeks, look for more content on the blog here regarding SCWH 2016, including summaries, thoughts, responses, and more.

See you next from Chattanooga!