Narrative & Nostalgia: The Crusades & American Civil War

Conference - March 29-30, 2019

Conference Information

Michel-Rolph Trouillot closed his 1995 Silencing the Past by reminding us that “History doesn’t belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it in their own hands.” This is nowhere more true than in two historical periods seldom in conversation - the medieval phenomenon called the “Crusades,” and the 19th-century American Civil War. Scholars here seek to clarify these periods among themselves, while popular audiences voraciously consume these and other retellings of the past, and others on the political left and right “take it in their own hands” by toppling monuments or explicitly evoking these periods as direct predecessors of their own.

To spur further conversation across specializations and disciplines, to compare the utility of certain methodologies and approaches, and to consider these periods’ appropriation into modern politics, Virginia Tech will host a conference at the Hotel Roanoke in Roanoke, VA on March 29-30, 2019.

Keynote -- Prof. Matthew X. Vernon, (UC-Davis) author The Black Middle Ages: Race and the Construction of the Middle Ages (Palgrave, 2018)

To ameliorate costs, there will be NO registration fee, and several meals and a reception will be provided for all registered attendees. Attendees will be responsible for travel & lodging. Graduate students and early career scholars demonstrating need may be eligible for a lodging bursary.

For more information, please contact organizer Prof. Matthew Gabriele (Virginia Tech) at

Conference generously sponsored by Virginia Tech's Dept. of Religion & Culture, Virginia Center for Civil War Studies, Center for the Humanities, the Women & Minority Artist Lecture Series, and the Depts. of English, History, and Political Science.