Continuing our way through the American Civil War, this semester begins exploring the critical events and battles of 1862. This class is a series that will begin with the January 1862 battle at Mill Springs, KY and end with the Battle of Stones River on December 31, 1862.
Some of the pivotal events that will be discussed during the series are Fort Henry, Fort Donelson, Pea Ridge, the ironclads, Shiloh, the Peninsula campaign, the Shenandoah Valley campaign, the Seven Days campaign, Cedar Mountain, 2nd Manassas, Antietam, Perryville, Prairie Grove, and Fredericksburg.
Born Erich Weisz, Harry Houdini grew up an impoverished Jewish immigrant in the Midwest and became world-famous escape artist risking death over and over again. This class explores Houdini’s upbringing and rise to fame, his dangerous feats, his secret life as a spy, his attempts to debunk spiritualism and his fight with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and finally his untimely death on Halloween and the legacy he left behind.
This is the first class in a new series on the making and history of American monuments. Each semester a new American monument will be presented.
The Statue of Liberty is a symbol of American nationalism that originated because of the American Civil War. This class explores the men as they layout their massive design and construction plans for a colossal monument. We discuss the massive fundraising campaigns and major obstacles that both the French and the Americans faced in finalizing Lady Liberty. We will examine the statue’s shipment from France and the ceremonies surrounding her arrival and unveiling in New York.
The True Horrors of Black Life and Reclamation of Magic and Mysticism in Lovecraft Country--This hour-long session will focus on elements of horror, fantasy, and Afro-Futurism in the Matt Ruff novel and limited HBO series Lovecraft Country. We will begin with a brief exploration of how mystical and spiritual elements were removed from the collective Black American memory, and we will end with an understanding of how the novel, series, and other creative pieces have helped us begin to reclaim those experiences.
Literature as Historical Record and the African American Experience in The 1619 Project--In this hour-long session, we will explore how literature and other creative endeavors became the default for coping with and, ultimately, the replacement for "historical records," where our voices and experiences were muted or erased. As indicated by the Audre Lorde quote, our collective lack of understanding of our history and persistent silences are what necessitated the creation of the project.