University of South Carolina

University of South Carolina Civil War Faculty Experts List

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War, which began in South Carolina with the Battle of Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861. Some of the nation’s top scholars on the Civil War conduct research and teach at the University of South Carolina. To help reporters develop stories in connection with the sesquicentennial, the university’s Office of Media Relations has compiled a list of faculty experts.

To coordinate an interview with a faculty expert, contact Peggy Binette or Frenche Brewer in the Office of Media Relations at 803-777-5400 or via email at or

Secession and the ‘problem’ of slavery
Dr. Lacy Ford
, a professor of history and vice provost, is an expert on 19th century American history. He can discuss secession, including the social, economic and political change on the eve of and during the Civil War. He also can discuss slavery and the history and public memory of the Civil War. His 2009 book, “Deliver Us From Evil: The Slavery Question in the Old South,” has earned critical acclaim. He also has had recent articles appear in the Journal of American History and the Journal of Southern History. Email:  

The South and South Carolina: the home front
Dr. Walter Edgar is among the Palmetto State’s best-known Southern and South Carolina historians. Edgar holds three professorships and is the director of the university’s Institute for Southern Studies. He can discuss the home front in the South and South Carolina, as well as politics, military actions and the impact that slavery had on every aspect of life in the American South. He also can discuss the Port Royal Experiment, a program that began in 1862 on the Sea Islands of South Carolina to prepare freed slaves for participation in a post-Civil War society by having former slaves work the land abandoned by plantation owners. Edgar’s many publications include “South Carolina: A History” and “The South Carolina Encyclopedia,” which he edited. Email: 

The Civil War through the senses
Dr. Mark Smith, a Carolina Distinguished Professor of History, is an award-winning historian who pioneered sensory history, a field that examines history through the five senses. His research has largely focused on 19th-century U.S. history and the Civil War. In his latest book, “When War Makes Sense: A Sensory History of the American Civil War,” Smith answers questions such as, “What did Gettysburg smell like?” “What impact did the siege of Vicksburg have on the sense of taste for those trapped in the city?” “What were the noises, sounds and silence of secession?” “What did the Civil War sound like?” “How did the conflict influence the sense of touch?” “Was seeing really believing in the years during America's most violent conflict?” Smith is president of The Historical Society, a international professional organization of historians of all time periods and regions. Email:  

Sherman’s March
Dr. Steven D. Smith, associate director of applied research in the S.C. Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology, is an expert in the archaeology of Civil War battlefields and camps and the history of African-American soldiers during the war. He has conducted archaeological excavations of Civil War sites across South Carolina since 1987. He directed the project to excavate African-American soldiers discovered on Folly Island (S.C.) that were reburied in the Beaufort National Cemetery. He also has conducted excavations of Union camps and forts on Folly Island. He has researched and mapped Civil War batteries in Beaufort, Jasper and Colleton counties. His latest research involves inventorying and mapping sites associated with Gen. William T. Sherman’s march through South Carolina. Email:  

Stoking of sectional tensions through boycotts
Dr. Lawrence Glickman
, chairman of the history department and Carolina Trustee Professor, is an expert on the history of American consumer society. His recent book, “Buying Power: A History of American Consumer Activism” (2009), devotes two chapters to the coming of the Civil War from the perspective of consumer politics in the South and the North. He is an expert on the “free produce movement,” the plan by Northern abolitionists to boycott slave-made goods and to buy only products made by free laborers. Throughout the North, and especially in Quaker Philadelphia, Glickman says there were dozens of “free produce” stores that sold slave-free candy, clothing and sugar. He can also discuss the “non intercourse movement,” which occurred at the same time as the free produce movement, in which white Southern economic nationalists sought to boycott Northern goods and products. Both movements lasted from the 1820s through the onset of the Civil War, and both played a role in stoking sectional tensions. Glickman also has studied several post-Civil War boycott campaigns that occurred during the Reconstruction era, including very early boycotts of Jim Crow streetcars by African-Americans. Email:  

Charleston Habor: A Civil War battlefield
James Spirek
, an underwater archaeologist in the S.C. Institute for Archaeology and Anthropology, has spent the last two years combing the depths of the Charleston harbor to record Civil War shipwrecks and submerged coastal-defense features, such as batteries and obstructions, including torpedoes. Looking at the entire Charleston harbor as a naval battlefield, Spirek has created a detailed analysis of the novel techniques and strategies developed by Confederate and Union forces for conducting naval warfare. Spirek can discuss the Civil War’s naval history and the role the Charleston harbor played in that history. Email:

The Civil War: A Southern lit perspective
Dr. Robert Brinkmeyer
is the Emily Brown Jefferies Professor of English and professor of Southern studies. An expert in 20th-century Southern literature and culture, Brinkmeyer can discuss the significance, treatment and portrayal of the Civil War by contemporary Southern writers. His research was featured at the 2009 scholarly conference, “Lincoln and the Civil War in American Culture.” A prominent scholar in Southern literature circles, Brinkmeyer serves on the editorial boards of “The Flannery O’Connor Review,” “The Mississippi Quarterly” and “New Directions in Southern Studies,” a book series published by UNC Press. Email:

America’s secession and Civil War
Dr. Don H. Doyle
, McCausland Professor of History at USC, teaches U.S. history and is an expert in the Civil War era, the American South and nationalism in the Americas and Europe. He recently released a book of essays, titled “Secession as an International Phenomenon: From America's Civil War to Contemporary Separatist Movements.” Doyle is currently writing “Last Best Hope: America's International Civil War," a book that deals with the overseas contest between North and South to influence public opinion in Europe and elsewhere in the world. Email:  

Confederate naval yards: A Mars Bluff story
Dr. Christoper Amer, state underwater archaeologist, and Dr. Jonathan Leader, state archaeologist, are researchers in the university’s S.C. Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology. The two have worked on Civil War archaeology projects and can discuss Civil War archaeological research, particularly in South Carolina. They are conducting research in Marion County, in and along the Pee Dee River, on the wreck of the C.S.S. Pee Dee, a Confederate gunboat. Specific areas of focus are two of three large cannon aboard the vessel, plus the Mars Bluff Naval Yard, where the boat was built. The 150-170-foot gunboat was set ablaze and blown up in 1865 so it wouldn’t fall into the hands of Gen. William T. Sherman’s Union troops. Mars Bluff was one of seven inland Confederate naval yards. Email: or  

Civil War and Reconstruction
Dr. Thomas Brown, an associate professor of history, teaches U.S. history and is an expert in the Civil War and Reconstruction era. His scholarship focuses on representations of the Civil War in popular culture. He is the editor of “The Public Art of Civil War Commemoration: A Brief History of Documents,” which examines the Civil War as depicted in monuments, movies and other forms. He is also the editor of a forthcoming essay collection, “Remixing the Civil War: Meditations on the Sesquicentennial,” which surveys uses of the Civil War in contemporary American art and politics. Email:

Civil War Tourism
Dr. Simon Hudson
holds the endowed chair for the CoEE in Tourism and Economic Development. The marketing of tourism is the focus of his research, and he has published more than 40 journal articles, including “Tourism and Hospitality Marketing: A Global Perspective,” published in 2008. Hudson can discuss heritage tourism, roots, family reunions and how the South can promote its rich history and culture. Email:  

Dr. Rich Harrill is director of the International Tourism Research Institute and directs the university’s Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Travel & Tourism Industry Center. He is an author, lecturer, researcher and consultant. The institute provides both local and international projects and research while the center focuses on U.S. tourism industry competitiveness. He can discuss the economic impact that international tourism will have on the region during the Civil War anniversary. E-mail:

By Office of Media Relations

Posted: 03/04/11 @ 4:55 PM | Updated: 04/01/11 @ 1:24 PM | Permalink