Google Search
New Frontiers Seminar in AA160 - Professor Mark M. Smith


Please join us for the New Frontiers Seminar given by Professor Mark M. Smith on “When War Makes Sense: A Sensory History of the American Civil War”.

Mark Smith is Carolina Distinguished Professor of History at the University of South Carolina. He is author of award winning books including Mastered by the Clock: Time, Slavery, and Freedom in the American South (the Organization of American Historians' 1997 Avery O. Craven Award, South Carolina Historical Society's Book of the Year); and How Race Is Made: Slavery, Segregation, and the Senses (a 2007 Choice Outstanding Academic Title). His most recent book is Camille, 1969: Histories of a Hurricane (2011), based on his 2009 Lamar Memorial Lectures detailing recovery from Hurricane Katrina. 

Smith has lectured widely and his work has been reviewed and featured in the New York Times, the London Times, the Chronicle of Higher Education, Brain, and Science. He is completing work on a sensory history of the American Civil War, under contract with Oxford University Press.

 Abstract: Although sensory history has flourished in recent years, practitioners have written little about the sensory experience and meaning of war.  This lecture, offered on the occasion of the Civil War’s sesquicentennial and drawn from Professor Smith’s forthcoming work, offers a brief sensory history of the American Civil War.  It considers the ways soldiers and civilians understood the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and touches of war in an effort to say something meaningful about the experience of war.  The lecture argues that the sounds of secession, the sights of First Bull Run, the smells of Gettysburg, the tastes and touches of various battles and sieges represented a sensory atavism for many Americans in the 1860s.  The sensory experience of the American Civil War reminded Americans, North and South, that their putative mastery of the senses was, in fact, a hollow conceit.  This war, one veined with meaningful talk about the nobility of the Union, the morality of Emancipation, was also a war whose sensory experience disrupted the very notion of civilization.

Refreshments provided.

 The New Frontier Seminar Series is hosted by the Graduate Students' Association at Scarborough (GSAS). This seminar is sponsored by the Office of the Vice-Principal Research and the Department of Historical & Cultural Studies. The series showcases cutting edge research from the University of Toronto Scarborough, while highlighting new discoveries from leading researchers in North America.


© University of Toronto Scarborough