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Georgia's role in Civil War kicks off lecture series

Dr. John Inscoe of the University of Georgia started the University of North Georgia's "Civil War at 150" lecture series with a discussion of the war in Georgia.

Study of the Civil War in Georgia continues to evolve 150 years after the battles ended, a renowned history professor told audience members at the University of North Georgia's (UNG) "Civil War at 150" lecture on Feb. 12.

The talk by Dr. John Inscoe of the University of Georgia began the three-part lecture series, "Civil War at 150," sponsored by UNG's Department of History, Anthropology, and Philosophy. Inscoe shared stories and anecdotes from the book, "The Civil War in Georgia: A Companion to the New Georgia Encyclopedia," a compilation of recent articles by more than 50 authors covering various aspects of the war.

"This volume is a reflection of the state of Civil War scholarship, and the extent to which it's a far cry from what it was during the centennial," Inscoe said, explaining early study of the war concentrated on military aspects. "Scholarship since then, particularly in the last 15 to 20 years, has really spread to a much more holistic view of the war – the economics of the war, the politics of it, and social and cultural aspects of life on the home front."

In the decades since the war ended, millions have become familiar with Georgia's role in the war through the global popularity of Atlanta native Margaret Mitchell's novel "Gone With the Wind," Inscoe said.

"If the Civil War has long resonated with the rest of the world, it's the Georgia version of that war that has been in the forefront," he said. "'Gone With the Wind' has been particularly embraced by other peoples who have experienced civil wars and who have ended up on the losing side of those wars, and how they survived."

Inscoe, the Albert B. Saye Professor of History at UGA, is the editor of the New Georgia Encyclopedia website. He also has edited or co-edited volumes on Georgia race relations, Appalachia and race in the 19th century, southern Unionists during the Civil War, and Confederate nationalism and identity.

"For the lecture series, we wanted to highlight multiple perspectives and recent scholarship on the impact of the Civil War," said Dr. Deanna Gillespie, assistant professor of history at UNG, who is organizing the series. "Our series brings nationally recognized scholars to northeast Georgia and spotlights faculty members of UNG's Department of History, Anthropology, and Philosophy."

The series will continue March 12 with "UNG Historians Reflect on the Civil War," which will feature panelists Dr. George Justice, Dr. Clay Ouzts, Dr. Jennifer Smith, and Dr. Ben Wynne, all UNG history faculty. Glen Kyle, executive director of the Northeast Georgia History Center and a faculty member at UNG, will facilitate the panel.

The series will conclude on April 9, the anniversary of the war's end, with Dr. J. David Hacker, an associate professor of history at the University of Minnesota. His presentation, "The Human Cost of the American Civil War," will detail his 2012 study that increased the death toll of the nation's deadliest war to 750,000.

All programs are free and open to the public and will be in the Cleveland Ballroom in the Martha T. Nesbitt Building on UNG's Gainesville Campus. Programs begin at 6 p.m. and a reception will be held at 5:30 p.m. before each program. All three sessions will be recorded and posted online at

The project is supported by a grant from the Georgia Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities and through appropriations from the Georgia General Assembly. Additional support is provided by the Northeast Georgia History Center in Gainesville and UNG partners, including the College of Arts and Letters; the Department of History, Anthropology, and Philosophy; the Center for Teaching, Learning, and Leadership; and the UNG libraries.

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