UTC's Nineteenth Annual Symposium on the 19th Century Press, the Civil War, and Free Expression will be held Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, Nov. 10-12. The conference will begin Thursday afternoon at the Sheraton Read House Hotel and continue Friday and Saturday at the UTC University Center.
All paper sessions are free and open to the public.
The symposium will feature 40 speakers from across the nation including distinguished historians and communication scholars such as Donald L. Shaw of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and David Sloan of the University of Alabama.
“Several of the papers featured at this year’s symposium will be included in the forthcoming book Murder, Mayhem, Mudslinging, Scandals, Stunts, Hoaxes, Hatred, and Disasters: Sensationalism in 19th Century Reporting,” explained David B. Sachsman, the director of the conference and holder of the UTC West Chair of Excellence.
The Friday luncheon speaker will be W. Joseph Campbell of American University, whose topic is “What Media Myths Tell Us About Media History.” This lecture will be given in addition to the presentation of his essay “Yellow Journalism: Why So Maligned and Misunderstood?” during the Friday morning session. Mr. Campbell has written five books on American journalism, including The Year That Defined American Journalism: 1897 and the Clash of Paradigms (2006), and, most recently, Getting It Wrong: Ten of the Greatest Misreported Stories in American Journalism (2010).
The purpose of the conference is to share current research and to develop a series of monographs on the 19th century press, the Civil War and the press, and 19th century concepts of free expression. Papers from the first five conferences were published by Transaction Publishers in 2000 as a book of readings called The Civil War and the Press. More recently, Purdue University Press published papers from past conferences in three distinctly different books titled Memory and Myth: The Civil War in Fiction and Film from Uncle Tom's Cabin to Cold Mountain (2007), Words at War: The Civil War and American Journalism (2008), and Seeking a Voice: Images of Race and Gender in the 19th Century Press (2009).
The conference will begin Thursday, Nov. 10, at the Sheraton Read House Hotel at 4 p.m. and will consist of the following presentations: “Catharine Helfenstein and Little Eva: The Mass Media Origins of Uncle Toms Cabin” Joel B. Henderson, Chattanooga State Community College, “Southern Traitor or American Hero?: The Representation of Robert E. Lee in Northern Press from 1865 to 1870”
Cayce Myers, University of Georgia, “The Postwar Political Struggle of a Traitor: Clement L. Vallandigham and Civil War Reconstruction 1865-1871” Zosia Bober, Georgia State University, and “Lawless Louisiana: New Orleans Newspapers, Race, and the Battle of Liberty Place” Nancy Dupont, University of Mississippi.
The Thursday evening dinner address, entitled “Synthesizing the History of the Civil War Press,” will be given by Ford Risley of Pennsylvania State University. Following dinner, the symposium will continue with another collection of presentations, including: “‘With us, defeat is not thought of and disaster to our army would be absolutely ruinous’: Southwestern Newspaper Coverage of Col. John Baylors’s Invasion of New Mexico” Mary M. Cronin, New Mexico State University, “Free Speech or Treason?: The Democratic Press and Abraham Lincoln’s Assassination” Bruce W. Eelman, Siena College, “The President’s Private Life: A New Explanation for ‘The Right to Privacy’” Patricia Ferrier, University of Southern Indiana, “Pushing the South Forward: J.D.B. De Bow’s Editorial Contributions to the Postwar New South Movement” John Kvach, University of Alabama, “I See Much to be Preserved: New England Journalists and State-Sponsored Narrative Histories of the American Civil War” Crompton B. Burton, Marietta College, “Nellie Bly: Flying in the Face of Tradition” Dianne Bragg, University of Alabama, and “A Moral Panic on the Plains?: Press Culpability and the 1890 Massacre at Wounded Knee” Brian Gabrial, Concordia University.
The symposium will continue on Friday, Nov. 11, in the Raccoon Mountain Room in UTC’s University Center at 9 a.m. with the following presentations: “Marches, Massacres, and Mayhem: Social Identity Theory and Sensational News During the American Civil War” Debra Van Tuyll, Augusta State University, “A Hoosier Michael Angelo: The Politics of Lincoln’s Physical Appearance in Popular Media” Todd Thompson, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, “Mother Enterprise: Georgia’s Frontier Editor and the Birth of Fitzgerald” Wallace Eberhard, University of Georgia, and “Yellow Journalism: Why So Maligned and Misunderstood?” W. Joseph Campbell, American University.
The Friday morning session will conclude with “Another Side of Woman’s Suffrage: The Journalistic Stances of Sarah Hale, Jane Cunningham Croly, and Ida Tarbell” Amber Roessner and Jim Stovall, University of Tennessee at Knoxville, and “Ours Has Been No Pleasing Task: Sensationalism in Frank Leslie’s Campaign Against Swill Milk” Jennifer Moore, University of Minnesota.
The conference will continue after lunch with “To Always Be the Tocsin: Josephus Daniels, the News & Observer and the Beginnings of Jim Crow” Thomas Terry, Idaho State University, and Donald Shaw, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, “The Disabled Civil War Soldier in the 19th Century American Press” Ieva Larchey, Emory University, “Alarming Intelligence: Sensationalism in Newspapers after the Raids at Harper’s Ferry, Virginia, and St. Albans, Vermont” Brian Gabrial, Concordia University, “Despicable Journalism: Sensationalism and the American Presidency in the Nineteenth Century” Crompton B. Burton, Marietta College.
The final session of the afternoon will include: “Publishing Violence as Art and News: Sensational Prints and Pictures in the Nineteenth Century Press” Gregory A. Borchard, Stephen Bates, and Lawrence J. Mullen, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, “Deepening Racial Divides: How Murder Stories in 19th-Century Newspapers Across the U.S. Used Sensationalism as a Tool toFoment Racial Tensions” Lee Jolliffe, Drake University, “Politics and Private Lives: 19th Century Sensational Coverage of the Presidents” Jack Breslin, Iona College, and a discussion of “Sensationalism in Local News at Mid-Century: The Rhetoric of Crime, Accidents, Disease, Natural Disasters, and Oddities,” “Sensational Journalism in the Civil War Era: A Comparison of Non-War News Coverage in Northern and Southern Newspapers,” and “Scandals to the Fore: Sensationalism in News Coverage in 1873” David Bulla, Zayed University, and Heather Haley, Ames, Iowa.
The dinner speaker will be David Sloan of the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, who will present “Don’t Believe Anything You’ve Read about the American Press Before 1865.” Additionally, there will be a performance by the Chattanooga Choral Society for the Preservation of African-American Song, which will be conducted by music director Roland Carter of UTC.
The conference will conclude Saturday morning, Nov. 12, in the Raccoon Mountain Room of UTC’s University Center with the following presentations: “Thomas Kennedy and Maryland’s Jew Bill: The Jewish Struggle for Political Equality, 1823-1825” Stephanie Erbesfield, Georgia State University, “Newspaper Coverage of the Cherokee People after Removal to the West,1839-1846” Pamela Dorsett, Georgia State University, “Civil War Censorship: Setting the Precedent for Conflict Between the Military and the Press” Anthony Fellow and Gail Love, University of California, Fullerton, “Naughty Seeds of Sensationalism: 19th Century Newspaper Coverage of Celebrities and Politicians” Jack Breslin, Iona College, “Rattling the Narrative Skeletons in Humanity’s Closet: The Psychological Roots of Sensationalism” Paulette D. Kilmer, University of Toledo, “Letters to Lincoln About a Country Editor: The Political Rise and Fall of a Border State Publisher during the Civil War” Stephen Banning, Bradley University, and “‘What H.G. Knows About...’: Cartoonist Thomas Nast’s 1872 Crusade Against Presidential Candidate Horace Greeley” Jennifer Moore and Hazel Dicken-Garcia, University of Minnesota, and William Huntzicker, St. Cloud State.
On Saturday afternoon, the discussion will continue while the group visits Chattanooga’s historic Civil War sites in a tour led by James Ogden, historian of the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park.
The symposium is sponsored by the West Chair of Excellence, the UTC communication and history departments, the Walter and Leona SchmittFamily Foundation Research Fund, and the Hazel Dicken-Garcia Fund for the Symposium. Contact David B. Sachsman, holder of the West Chair, 425-4219, email@example.com.