Friday, July 20, 2012

Casting a Wider Net

You may have noticed that I have changed the subtitle of this site from "Civil War History" to "Civil War. Reconstruction. Reunion." No, I have not run out of things to say about the Civil War...and I do not suspect that I ever will. But, there are a few developments underway that suggest Cosmic America should cast a wider net.

For one, I signed on to teach a class in Reconstruction history at UC Riverside during the winter 2013 term. This of course means that I will be talking a lot about it here. I will more than likely set up a page including the course syllabus and all the primary documents. But that is not happening for a while yet.

Also, I talk about reunion all the time anyway, so I believe the subtitle should reflect the content of the site - wouldn't you agree?

I am looking forward to the Reconstruction course - getting back in the classroom is exciting indeed, especially since I will be dealing with one of the most controversial eras in American History. To my mind, the period represented an uncertain landscape for those who lived through it. So many of the the websites and forums I run across dwell on retrospectively examining the successes and failures of the period - primarily the failures...taking on the Reconstruction period as some sort of "lost moment."  But this approach could be of limited utility. One has much more to gain by accessing the events - success and failures all - as they unfolded. No one in 1865 knew what was about to happen. So I would say it is best not to try and understand their history from our perspective. I trust my students will agree.





  1. I am so glad to hear that there is course on Reconstruction. In my mind, it is the least understood, most important period in U.S. history. I look forward to seeing your syllabus.

  2. Good subtitle change. Also, I like your new website design. Much easier for me to use.

  3. Barb - I agree. I have always felt that the Reconstruction era gets the short end of the stick. There is so much to talk about. The trick is going to be fitting it all in in a very short UC quarter.

  4. Thanks, Pat. It seems as though the new format is working well for many. I have gotten a lot of positive response. I am certainly glad it is more user friendly.