Narrative & Nostalgia: The Crusades and American Civil War

Michel-Rolph Trouillot closed his 1995 Silencing the Past by reminding us that “History doesn’t belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it in their own hands.” This is nowhere more true than in two historical periods seldom in conversation - the 11th-century phenomenon called the Crusades, and the 19th-century American Civil War. Scholars across disciplines seek to clarify these periods among themselves, while popular audiences voraciously consume these and other retellings of the past, and others “take it in their own hands” by toppling monuments or explicitly evoking these periods as direct predecessors of their own. Scholars of both periods share similar arguments about the utility of certain methodologies and approaches, rationales for the importance of their study, and appropriation into modern politics.


Thus, Virginia Tech invites paper proposals for a conference to be held at the Hotel Roanoke in Roanoke, VA on March 29-30, 2019. Matthew Vernon, assistant professor of English at UC-Davis, author of The Black Middle Ages (Palgrave, 2018) will be our keynote.


Papers of 20 minutes in length, from any discipline, engaging any aspect of the medieval holy war or American Civil War are welcome. Comparative work is encouraged.