Friday, October 1, 2010

Imagining Slaves as Loyal Confederates

"Imagining Slaves as Loyal Confederates: A Dangerous and Enduring Fantasy" is the title of a presentation by Dr. Peter Carmichael at 5:30 p.m. 21 October in Room 450A, Campus Center, Indiana University-Purdue University in Indianapolis. It's a "Barlow Lecture in the Humanities" presented by the Indiana University School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI. A reception follows.

His talk will explore the idea of the "devoted black slave" during the Civil War and how the historical memory of this form of human bondage continues to shape contemporary politics today.

"The notion that slaves and whites served together in Confederate armies out of mutual fidelity resonates with large segments of the American public who desire a sanitized Civil War of white heroism," says Carmichael, the Robert C. Fluhrer Professor of Civil War Studies and Director of the Civil War Institute at Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania

"In the current cultural wars over 'Southern heritage', those who want to disassociate the Confederacy from the evils of slavery and racism often trot out the idea of loyal slaves defending the South to prove that human bondage forged an unbreakable alliance between master and the enslaved. Extolling slaves as Confederate heroes is a dangerous misuse of history, and unfortunately the practice has been on the rise of late, especially among members of heritage groups who insist that they are the true defenders of Southern history," says the professor.

A 1988 graduate of the Department of History, Dr. Carmichael is also the 2010 recipient of the School of Liberal Arts Distinguished Alumni Award. The Award recognizes alumni who have brought honor to their alma mater by distinguished career of service or achievement or by giving extraordinary service to the School. The Award will be presented following the Barlow Lecture.

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