CLS 114 H — The American Civil War: A Visual and Literary History
And beyond these art forms, there was the daily round of life, the experience of soldiers and slaves, of women in Richmond, Washington DC, and elsewhere—all art forms of their own kind, descended to us in diaries, medals, and uniforms; in cemeteries, fragments of shrapnel found in fields; in the haunting space of Ford’s Theatre, where John Wilkes Booth shot Lincoln on April 14, 1865.
Together, all these places and pictures and poems and stories create a mosaic of life between 1861 and 1865 and beyond—a mosaic that’s made to this day, in the war’s ongoing political and poetic aftereffects, including most recently, the defacing and removal of Confederate statues in Richmond and other places in 2020 and the melting down of the city’s Robert E. Lee equestrian sculpture in 2023.
Focusing on poems, paintings, and photographs, but also on the lived experience of Americans during the war, the course is a personal and poetic journey into the past, told by Alexander Nemerov. More than that, it is a chance for students to reflect on their own personal and emotional connection to the American past.
This course is designed for the entire Stanford community, and Continuing Studies students will be joined by Stanford undergraduates and Stanford graduate students. Students can choose to attend this course on campus or online. Sign up for Section H if you think you might attend class on the Stanford campus at least once. There is no commitment—you can still choose to attend via Zoom for any session. Sign up for Section Z if you know you will exclusively attend via Zoom.