Monday, April 5, 2010

New Director Named to the Gettysburg College Civil War Institute

Gettysburg College has named Peter Carmichael its new director of the Civil War Institute and Robert Fluhrer Professor of Civil War Studies.

Carmichael is currently the Eberly Family Professor of Civil War Studies at West Virginia University. Michael Birkner, who is the Benjamin Franklin Professor of the Liberal Arts and a professor of history, served as interim director for the Civil War Institute this year. Gabor Boritt, who was the founding director, retired in 2009.

"The Civil War Institute at Gettysburg College occupies an important place in thought about and study of the American Civil War,” said Gettysburg College’s Interim Provost James White. “As the CWI's new director, Dr. Peter Carmichael, a noted historian of this epic conflict, will nurture and advance the Institute and work to make its programs ever better."

“I am very excited about the Civil War Institute and building on this incredible legacy of Gabor Boritt,” said Carmichael. “There’s no other place like Gettysburg College to be a public intellectual and where you can bring together students, scholars and the public to study the Civil War. I have visited here numerous times, but to think about this place to live in and to teach is extraordinary. I am honored.”

Carmichael has published a number of books, most recently a study of Southern college students during the Civil War era, “The Last Generation: Young Virginians in Peace, War, and Reunion (2005).” He is currently researching the experience and wartime representation of Confederate slaves, and how the mythical idea of loyal African Americans defending the South animates current cultural wars over "Southern heritage." Carmichael earned a doctorate and a master’s from the Pennsylvania State University, and a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University-Purdue University in Indianapolis.

For over 28 years, The Civil War Institute at Gettysburg College has hosted visiting educators and students, sponsored conferences, lectures, concerts, and movie premieres, as well as other educational programs on Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War. Each summer, the CWI hosts hundreds of Civil War enthusiasts, scholars and prominent historians for an annual conference in Gettysburg. The Institute also co-sponsors the annual Dedication Day, Nov. 19, which is the anniversary of Lincoln’s “Gettysburg Address,” with the Lincoln Fellowship of Pennsylvania and the Gettysburg National Military Park. CWI also co-sponsors and publishes the annual Robert Fortenbaugh Lecture. In addition, the institute coordinates the annual Michael Shaara $5,000 Book Prize for Civil War fiction.

Founded in 1832, Gettysburg College is a highly selective four-year residential college of liberal arts and sciences with a strong academic tradition that includes Rhodes Scholars, a Nobel laureate and other distinguished scholars among its alumni. The college enrolls 2,600 undergraduate students and is located on a 200-acre campus adjacent to the Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania.

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