ONLINE: This course's purpose is to enrich students’ understanding of the Civil War and Northern soldiers through their letter writing. Students will discover how the soldiers' writing during a critical time in our history speaks to contemporary issues of race, equality and the role of government. Period art, photography and historical events will be included to illuminate the language and culture of Northern soldiers during the Civil War. Six units are planned: Soldiers’ Language; Literacy and Culture; Features of Their Letters; Soldiers’ Political Identities; The Meaning of Union; and Race, Equality and Government. Letters representative of Northern soldiers, including African American soldiers, will be analyzed and illustrated throughout the course. Northern soldiers’ letters reveal their understanding of the meaning of “union.” Close analysis reveals how the soldiers' opinions on race, equality and the role of government in preserving free institutions still resonate today. | Lecture + Q&A.
Max enrollment: 200.
Steven M. Gates is an active scholar of Civil War studies and 19th-century literacy. Before retiring, he served for 25 years in administration as an academic dean, chief academic officer and college president, and for 15 years as faculty. He is nearing completion on a manuscript, “Words That Preserved Union,” that describes the transformation of his great-grandfather’s political identity through his letters. He holds a B.A., an M.A., and a Ph.D. in English education from the University of Iowa.