Filson Historical Society Academic Conference CFPs: “The Hard Hand of War: Civilians and Irregulars in the Civil War”

A. Glenn Crothers's picture


“The Hard Hand of War: Civilians and Irregulars in the Civil War”

October 23-25, 2014                                                                                                     Louisville, Kentucky

Conference Conveners:

Lee Ann Whites (University of Missouri)                                                                     Aaron Sheehan-Dean (Louisiana State University)

The Filson Institute for the Advanced Study of the Ohio Valley and the Upper South proposes a three-day academic conference to explore the experience of civilians and irregulars during the Civil War. The conference, which will take place in Louisville, Kentucky, at The Filson Historical Society, continues The Filson’s effort to mark the one hundred fiftieth anniversary of the Civil War.

The conference seeks to explore the multi-faceted nature of the Civil War, particularly the irregular conflict that occurred beyond the traditional battlefields. Though popular memory of the struggle usually focuses on the war’s most famous battles—Shiloh, Antietam, Gettysburg—historians have in recent years produced a rich literature that expands our understanding of the nature of the war and its impact on American lives. From guerrilla clashes in border states like Missouri and Kentucky, to the divided loyalties of Midwestern states such as Indiana and Ohio, to the anti-Confederate dissenters of the upland South and elsewhere, to the experience of women and other non-combatants in contested regions from the Shenandoah Valley to the streets of New Orleans, the war involved tens of thousands of Americans who never donned a uniform or served in a major battle. Civilians, spies, slaves, freedpeople, irregulars, and soldiers (among others) fought the war on multiple fronts, turning much of the country into a complex and constantly evolving battleground.

The organizers of the conference seek paper and panel proposals that explore a variety of questions related to this expanded definition of warfare in the Civil War, including:

  • The Civil War as total war
  • Laws of war and irregular warfare
  • Copperheads and Democrats in the North
  • Anti-Confederates in the South
  • Confederate and Union spies
  • The experience of women in contested areas
  • The experience of women on the home front
  • Guerrilla warfare
  • Bandits and banditry
  • Gender and irregular war
  • Honor and irregular war
  • Economic warfare: embargo, trade, and speculation
  • Prisoners of war
  • Slave resistance and emancipation
  • Union occupation and resistance
  • Population displacement and migration
  • The Native American experience of war
  • Pacifists and non-resistance
  • Religion and irregular warfare
  • Civil War memory and irregular war
  • The legacy of guerilla warfare

Please send three copies of a proposal of no more than one page clearly outlining subject, arguments, and relevance to the conference topic, along with a vita of no more than two pages, to The Filson Institute Conference, The Filson Historical Society, 1310 S. Third St., Louisville, Kentucky 40208.

Proposal deadline is April 29, 2014 (postmarked). Single papers or conference panels are welcome. For panel proposals please provide a one-page summary of the panel in addition to paper proposals and vitas from each participant. A keynote address will take place on Thursday evening; on Friday and Saturday, the conference will meet in consecutive plenary sessions, with three sessions each day. Papers will be placed on-line on The Filson Historical Society’s website prior to the conference. Funds will be available to help defray some travel costs for presenters. For questions concerning the conference, please contact Dr. A. Glenn Crothers at the address above or e-mail at, or consult The Filson website at:

Categories: CFP