Christopher DeRosa, Ph.D., associate professor of history, is one of a select group of faculty members nationwide chosen by the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History to participate in a special American history seminar “The Civil War in American Memory.”
The seminar for faculty members in history, political science, and related fields is especially important for those who may be called upon as resources and experts when questions arise over what should be done with controversial historical statues and markers on their campuses and in their communities. From a pool of 51 highly competitive nominations, 25 faculty members were selected to participate in the seminar, which will be held June 23–27, 2019, at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut.
“I’m excited to participate in a seminar led by the eminent historian David W. Blight, whose work on the Civil War in American memory I’ve assigned to Monmouth students many times,” said DeRosa. “Especially in light of our own campus’ not-too-distant debate over the legacy of Woodrow Wilson, it is important to help communities distinguish between the alleged ‘erasing’ of history and valid revision of previously enshrined interpretations. I appreciate Provost Moriarty nominating me for the opportunity.”
DeRosa joined Monmouth University’s faculty in 2003. He teaches courses on the history of warfare and politics and is the author of “Political Indoctrination in the U.S. Army.” DeRosa was awarded the 2018 Distinguished Teacher Award, which is the highest teaching award Monmouth offers and is given to one faculty member a year. He earned his bachelor’s in history at Columbia University and his Ph.D. in history at Temple University.
In announcing the selection of participants, CIC President Richard Ekman said, “Strengthening the teaching of American history at colleges and universities is of critical importance to maintaining informed citizen participation in a democracy. The Civil War has been used—and misused—to bolster contemporary arguments about conflict resolution, race, and the role of America in the world. The seminar will provide participating faculty members with unusual insight into the selective public memory through the years about American’s defining event, the Civil War. Participants in the seminar will be better prepared to teach a new generation of students how to understand major social and political issues of today in light of history, the different perspectives in different eras, and recent debates over Civil War monuments and symbols. We believe that Chris DeRosa will play a strong role in the seminar.”
The seminar will be led by David W. Blight, Class of 1954 professor of American history and director of the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition at Yale University. Blight is the author of “Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom; Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory,” which received numerous awards including the Bancroft Prize, the Frederick Douglass Prize, and the Merle Curti Prize; “American Oracle: The Civil War in the Civil Rights Era,” which received the Anisfield-Wolf Award for best nonfiction book on racism and human diversity; and “A Slave No More: Two Men Who Escaped to Freedom, Including Their Narratives of Emancipation.” Blight was elected a member of the Society of American Historians in 2002. Since 2004, he has served as a member of the board of trustees of the New-York Historical Society. He also has served on the board for African American Programs at Monticello in Charlottesville, Virginia. Blight was on the board of advisors to the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission and was involved in planning numerous events to commemorate the sesquicentennial of the Civil War. He has led or co-led many seminars for CIC faculty members on slave narratives and the scholarship and public history of slavery.
Seminar participants will assess the historical memory of the most divisive event in American history—the Civil War. Participants will consider works on Civil War memory, discuss theoretical texts on the nature and significance of collective memory across time and cultures, and dive deeply into three anniversary moments in this history: the 50th (1911–1915); the 100th (1961–1965); and the 150th (2011–2015). The seminar also will consider the recent and current crises and debates over Civil War monuments and symbols from the 2015 massacre in Charleston, South Carolina, to the recent protests and violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, and beyond. Above all, the seminar aims to provide a forum in which to comprehend and analyze why the slavery, Civil War, and Reconstruction epoch has remained an unending dilemma in American historical consciousness.
The seminar is generously funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
For more information, visit the CIC website at www.cic.edu/AmericanHistory.
Complete List of Participants in the 2019 CIC-Gilder Lehrman Seminar
Andrew Bledsoe, Assistant Professor of History, Political Science, and Humanities, Lee University (TN)
Megan Boccardi, Associate Professor of History, Quincy University (IL)
Brad Born, Professor of English, Bethel College (KS)
Deborah Breen, Assistant Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies in the Humanities, Regis College (MA)
Lonnie Burnett, Professor of History, University of Mobile (AL)
Rebecca Czuchry, Professor of History, Texas Lutheran University (TX)
Denise Damico, Associate Professor of History, Saint Francis University (PA)
Jon Davidann, Professor of History, Hawai’i Pacific University
Jonathan Den Hartog,Professor of History, University of Northwestern – St. Paul (MN)
Christopher DeRosa, Associate Professor of History, Monmouth University (NJ)
Ellen Eisenberg, Professor of History, Willamette University (OR)
Jennifer Erdman, Assistant Professor of History, Notre Dame of Maryland University
David Gilbert, Assistant Professor of History, Mars Hill University (NC)
Samuel Graber, Assistant Professor of Humanities and Literature, Valparaiso University (IN)
Nicole Greer Golda, Assistant Professor of History, Ferrum College (VA)
Randall Hanson, Professor of History and Political Studies, Colby-Sawyer College (NH)
Felix Harcourt, Assistant Professor of History, Austin College (TX)
Antwain Hunter, Assistant Professor of History, Butler University (IN)
Megan Monahan, Assistant Professor of History, Cedar Crest College (PA)
Ken Nivison, Professor of History, Southern New Hampshire University (NH)
Ngozi Onuora, Associate Professor of Education, Millikin University (IL)
Jeffrey Perry, Assistant Professor of History, Tusculum University (TN)
Alyssa Ribeiro, Assistant Professor of History and Black Studies, Allegheny College (PA)
Shannon Smith, Assistant Professor of History, College of St. Benedict/St. John’s University (MN)
Lauren Thompson, Assistant Professor of History, McKendree University (MO)