Changing Views on Confederate Monuments Discussed at WSU
OGDEN, Utah – In 2017, Americans began to reassess the legacy of the Civil War by protesting monuments celebrating Confederate officers. Georg Schild, North American history professor at Germany's University of Tübingen, will address these changing views March 27 at 7 p.m. in Weber State University's Hurst Center Dumke Legacy Hall.
The lecture is part of the Lampros Lecture Series sponsored by the College of Social & Behavioral Sciences and the Weber Historical Society and is free and open to the public.
Schild holds a doctorate in American History from the University of Maryland. He has written many books and articles on American history, including works on Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, Woodrow Wilson and the Russian Revolution.
“Bringing in international faculty exposes our students to new perspectives on history,” said Susan Matt, WSU history professor. “He has taken a leading role in the Organization of American Historians in setting up international exchanges for faculty.”
Although Confederate monuments have been controversial in the past, renewed contention arose after a white nationalist rally turned violent in Charlottesville, Virginia, August 12, 2017. Since then, according to reporting by The New York Times, more than 20 Confederate monuments have been removed nationwide with proposals to remove at least another dozen pending.
“My lecture was inspired by last year’s broad debates about Civil War monuments that praise the efforts of confederate officers,” Schild said. “I wanted to explore how remembrance of the Civil War evolved over time and how popular culture contributed to that remembrance.”
Schild will explore why American cities erected such statues to begin with and what caused public opinion to change in recent years.
“Leaving all monuments for all time implies that people will forever agree with that particular interpretation of the past,” Schild said. “But some monuments may become controversial, even offensive, a generation or more after they were erected. America today is different from the America that put up Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson monuments over a century ago. That became clear last year.”
Schild’s examination of the past will seek to shed light on what these debates say about the direction in which we are headed.
“The WSU history department invited Professor Schild because of his distinguished record of scholarship in American history,” Matt said. “The author of eight books on American history and politics, he offers a distinctive perspective on America's past. His recent work on the Civil War made him a perfect pick for the Lampros lecture."
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