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Stephanie McCurry, Professor of History, University of Pennsylvania


This seminar focuses on the era of the American Civil War and especially on the revolutionary transformation of social and political life in that critical period of US history. Using an array of historical documents as well as lectures, discussions, and visits to historical sites, seminar members will analyze the way a war of unprecedented scope drove a process of state building and slave emancipation that reconfigured the nation and remade the terms of political membership in it. Starting with the Supreme Court’s decision in the Dred Scott case in 1857 and ending with the constitutional amendments of the postwar period, we take up the key events and developments in the Union and the Confederacy, including secession, the destruction of slavery (on plantations and in the law), African American enlistment, and popular politics in the North and South. By focusing throughout on the racial and gender terms of citizenship, the seminar makes clear what changed—and what did not—in American political life, while conveying a sense of the epic drama by which the United States was remade in the vortex of war.


Readings are sent by the Institute to seminar participants. Readings may include:

McCurry, Stephanie. Confederate Reckoning: Power and Politics in the Civil War South. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2010.

Course Reader

Travel & Accommodations

There are several options for traveling to and from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. For more information visit the University of Pennsylvania website.

The Philadelphia International Airport is located approximately twenty minutes from the University of Pennsylvania. There are several options for transportation from the airport to the university.

Workshop participants will be housed at an on-campus dormitory. Participants will have single bedrooms, but share bathrooms and common space. Dormitories are air-conditioned. Wireless Internet service is provided. Several computer clusters and lounges are available in the complex. Some participants choose to bring laptops. Participants will be provided with a temporary wireless access codes.

The university provides pillows, blankets, sheets, and towels only. Please note that participants should plan to bring alarm clocks, hangers, irons, hair dryers, and shower shoes.


Meals will be served in a university cafeteria in space shared by other programs. All on-campus meals will be paid for by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.

Travel Reimbursement

Each summer seminar participant will receive reimbursement of travel expenses up to $400. Participants are responsible for making their own travel arrangements to and from the seminar.

Participants traveling internationally or from Alaska and Hawaii receive a $500 stipend in lieu of reimbursement upon completion of the seminar. Applicants to seminars should note that supplements will not be given in cases where the $400 allowance is insufficient to cover all travel expenses. Our reimbursement policy has changed from previous years. For more information on our policy click here.

Graduate Credit

The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History is proud to announce its agreement with Adams State University to offer three hours of graduate credit in American history to participating seminar teachers. For more information click here.


Email the Teacher Seminars department or call 646-366-9666.

July 21st, 2013 5:00 PM   through   July 27th, 2013 9:00 AM
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA
United States

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Seminar Fee
Attending $50.00
Not Attending $0.00

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