April 11: "Love and Duty: Confederate Widows and the Emotional Politics of Loss" with Dr. Angela Esco Elder

"Love and Duty: Confederate Widows and the Emotional Politics of Loss"
with Dr. Angela Esco Elder, Associate Professor of History at Converse College
Thursday, April 11, 2024, from 6-7:30 p.m.
Room 114, Belk Library and Information Commons
[Add to Google Calendar]

BOONE, N.C. — Appalachian State University's Department of History—with support from the College of Arts and Sciences—is pleased to welcome Dr. Angela Esco Elder for the 2024 Civil War Speaker Series. She will present "Love and Duty: Confederate Widows and the Emotional Politics of Loss" on Thursday, April 11, 2024, from 6-7:30 p.m. in Room 114 of the Belk Library and Information Commons located at 218 College Street in Boone.

Dr. Elder is an associate professor of history at Converse College. After graduating from the University of Georgia with a doctorate in history, she became the Virginia Center for Civil War Studies postdoctoral fellow at Virginia Tech. Her dissertation, which explored the experience of Confederate widowhood, won the Southern Historical Association’s C. Vann Woodward Dissertation Prize and St. George Tucker Society’s Melvin E. Bradford Dissertation Prize in 2017.

At Converse, Elder teaches a variety of American history courses, including her specialty in the Civil War and women’s history, and unique courses like “Duels, Disease, and Disaster: Death in 19th Century America.” She sees great value in learning through hands-on experiences, with pedagogy like Reacting to the Past. In 2018, students awarded her the Faculty Involvement and Collaboration Award, in recognition of her commitment to the core values of Converse College. In 2019, she received the Joe Ann Lever Award of Excellence and in 2021, the SCICU Teaching Excellence Award.

"Love and Duty: Confederate Widows and the Emotional Politics of Loss" will analyze how women in the South responded to the loss of their husbands in the Civil War. Between 1861 and 1865, approximately 200,000 women were widowed by the deaths of Civil War soldiers. They recorded their experiences in diaries, letters, scrapbooks, and pension applications. Elder draws on these materials—as well as songs, literary works, and material objects like mourning gowns—to explore white Confederate widows’ stories, examining the records of their courtships, marriages, loves, and losses to understand their complicated relationship with the Confederate state. Elder shows how, in losing their husbands, many women acquired significant cultural capital, which positioned them as unlikely actors to gain political influence. They used that influence to turn mourning into a highly politicized act amid the post-war battle to establish the Confederacy’s legitimacy.

The lecture is free and open to the public. For a disability accommodation, visit odr.appstate.edu. For more information about the Civil War Speaker Series, visit history.appstate.edu/events/civil-war-speaker-series.


About the College of Arts and Sciences
The College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) at Appalachian State University is home to 17 academic departments, two centers and one residential college. These units span the humanities and the social, mathematical and natural sciences. CAS aims to develop a distinctive identity built upon our university's strengths, traditions and unique location. The college’s values lie not only in service to the university and local community, but through inspiring, training, educating and sustaining the development of its students as global citizens. More than 6,400 student majors are enrolled in the college. As the college is also largely responsible for implementing App State’s general education curriculum, it is heavily involved in the education of all students at the university, including those pursuing majors in other colleges. Learn more at https://cas.appstate.edu.

About the Department of History
The Department of History offers a broad curriculum in local, national, regional and world history at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, which encourages history majors to develop a comprehensive approach to human problems. The study of history is an essential part of a liberal arts education and offers valuable preparation for many careers, such as law, journalism, public history, public service and business, as well as in teaching and the advanced discipline of history. Learn more at https://history.appstate.edu.

By Lauren Gibbs
February 26, 2024

Dr. Angela Esco Elder, Associate Professor of History at Converse College
Published: Feb 26, 2024 11:10am