We at Civil Discourse strive to connect public and academic audiences by exploring both traditional and new scholarship through compelling research and writing. We believe strongly in the need to connect the wider public with current interpretations and trends in the field in order to foster intellectual discussion about our country’s past and present. Despite enthusiastic public interest and decades of academic research and writing, American interaction with and understanding of the Civil War remains layered, and different groups view the war and its legacy quite differently. Civil Discourse creates a venue for these differing conversations to come together; in particular, our blog seeks to bridge the gap between academic and popular interest in the war.
Through Civil Discourse’s blog, our authors strive to offer compelling, well-written stories that explore various facets—both old and new—of the long Civil War era from the early Republic through Reconstruction. We embrace traditional military and political history, as well exciting scholarship in the fields of social, cultural, gender, racial, legal, economic, and memory history. In simpler terms, Civil Discourse explores not only ever-popular topics like Grant and Lee, Shiloh and Gettysburg, but also sheds light on topics that have permeated academia for some time, yet struggled to penetrate Americans’ popular conceptions and memory of the war. We want to explore race and gender, class and citizenship, violence and suffering, and memory and history-making.
With this mission in mind, we believe it beneficial to purse a closer relationship with National Parks, historic sites, and museums in collaboration to present history to the public through blogging. At a time when the internet is the main source of information for many Americans and when budget crunches sometimes restrict the staff and resources available to historic sites, blogging can be a useful medium to reach the public. In particular, blogging can reach the public past those visitors who walk through your doors and provides opportunities to present research and collections that could not fit into an established exhibit.
We envision these projects in a number of forms, for example (but not restricted to):
1. A member of your staff can contribute a piece relevant to your site or based on their research connected to the Civil War era. This might be an outlet for interpretations your site cannot fit into an established exhibit or an opportunity for staff members to present research outside of the park’s usual outlets.
2. Your site can work in collaboration with our writers to produce a piece; for example, providing ideas and primary sources for an author to write a piece for the blog that highlights your site and its history.
3. We can produce a non-traditional post, such as an artifact analysis (highlight an artifact in your collection and how it reflects the wider history of your site), an online exhibit, or a walking tour.
We see this collaboration as an opportunity to further bridge the gap between public and academic historians by serving as an outlet for historical sites and academic historians to work together in new ways to interact with the public.
We look forward to hearing your ideas and possibly working with you in the future. Please do not hesitate to contact us with ideas or questions.