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Colloquium lecture examines role of West in Civil War

Monday, February 11, 2013

FREDERICK, Md.—A noted scholar of 19th century North American history will present a provocative new argument for the importance of the West in the Civil War in a lecture March 4 at 7 p.m. in the Whitaker Campus Center at Hood College.

The talk, More Than Just a Prize: How the American West Changed the Civil War, is sponsored by the College's annual Center for the Humanities colloquium series, which is funded in part by a National Endowment for the Humanities Challenge Grant.

Adam Arenson, Ph.D., assistant professor of history at the University of Texas at El Paso, challenges the concept of the Civil War as a contest between the North and South. Instead, he suggests that the potential for slavery to expand into western territories triggered the conflict, and that skirmishes in the West defined what the Civil War meant for the reunited states.

Arenson is the author of the award-winning The Great Heart of the Republic: St. Louis and the Cultural Civil War. His current project, After the Underground Railroad, considers the return of escaped slaves from Canada after the Civil War. He is the recipient of numerous grants, fellowships and awards, and was most recently a Haynes Foundation Fellow at the Huntington Library in San Marino, Calif.

Future colloquium events include a screening on March 28 of GULAG 113, a documentary that follows a survivor of the Soviet GULAG system as he journeys from his home in Canada to revisit key locations in the Soviet Union; and on April 16, the celebrated Baltimore craft artist Joyce C. Scott, guest speaker for the annual Rosenfeld Family Lecture, will trace her 30-year journey as a visual and performance artist.

For more information about the colloquium, contact Rebecca Prime, Ph.D., Sophia M. Libman NEH Professor of the Humanities, at prime@hood.edu.