Border Wars Conference

Join 17 leading scholars of the  Civil War-era conflict in Missouri and Kansas for a series of talks  and presentations on this most uncivil of wars.
Thursday, November 10, 2011
6:30pm

through
Saturday, November 12, 2011
12:30pm

With its horrific combination of robbery, arson, torture, murder, and swift and bloody raids on farms and settlements, the Civil War era in the Kansas-Missouri border region saw some of the most widespread, prolonged, and destructive guerrilla fighting in American history. This was a conflict that approached total war, engulfing the whole populace and challenging any notion of civility as Americans grappled with the problem of liberty and slavery face to face for the first time.

The Border Wars Conference, featuring sessions at both the Central Library and the Plaza Branch, offers an exploration of this most uncivil of wars while providing insight into the ways in which societies can be fragmented by ideology and ultimately rebuilt upon different lines.

The Border Wars Conference is organized by the Kansas City Public Library, the Center for Regional Studies and the History Department at the University of Missouri – Kansas City, and the History Department at the University of Kansas. It is co-sponsored by the Hall Center for the Humanities at the University of Kansas, the Barton P. and Mary D. Cohen Charitable Trust, Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area, the Bernardin Haskell Lecture Fund, and the Center for Regional Studies at the University of Missouri–Kansas City.

KEYNOTE ADDRESS

Michael Fellman
"I Came Not to Bring Peace, but a Sword": The Christian War God, and the War of All Against All on the Kansas-Missouri Border

Thursday, November 10, 2011
Reception: 6 p.m. ● Program: 6:30 p.m.
Central Library, 14 W. 10th St.

Michael Fellman, a preeminent scholar of the American Civil War and an expert on the guerilla warfare that characterized the conflict in the Missouri-Kansas borderlands, considers how perfectly ordinary Americans could revise their moral and religious beliefs to justify such extraordinary violence with relative ease. Selectively picking texts from Holy Scripture, they assembled a war God perfectly suited to their actions out of Christian belief.

Author of the path-breaking books Inside War, and In the Name of God and Country: Reconsidering Terrorism in American History, Fellman, a professor of history emeritus at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, explicates a haunting and recurring theme that stalks American history.

CONFERENCE SESSION

Making the Border Bleed: Slavery and Politics in Territorial Kansas
Friday, November 11, 2011
Continental Breakfast: 8:30 a.m. ● Program: 9 a.m. – 12 noon
Plaza Branch, 4801 Main St.

Making the Border Bleed: Slavery and Politics in Territorial Kansas, moderated by Virgil Dean, Kansas Historical Society, and featuring talks by:

Kristen Epps, Colorado State University – Pueblo; Before the Border Wars: Slavery and Southern Settlement on the Western Frontier, 1825-1845

Nicole Etcheson, Ball State University; The Goose Question: The Proslavery Party in Territorial Kansas and the “Crisis in Law and Order”

Kristen Tegtmeier Oertel, University of Tulsa; “Negro-worshipping fanatics” and “villain[s] of the blackest dye”: Racialized Manhoods and the Sectional Debates

Pearl Ponce, Ithaca College; “The Noise of Democracy:” The Struggle over the Lecompton Constitution

Regular breaks are scheduled throughout this session. A question and answer session follows the presentations.

CONFERENCE SESSION

Sectional Crisis and Civil War on the Western Border, 1860-1865
Friday, November 11, 2011
Program: 1:30 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Plaza Branch, 4801 Main St.

Sectional Crisis and Civil War on the Western Border, 1860-1865, moderated by William Piston, Missouri State University, and featuring talks by:

Randy Mullis, Command and General Staff College; The Illusion of Security and the Fragility of Peace: Kansas and Missouri on the Eve of the Civil War

Jonathan Earle, University of Kansas; “If I Went West, I Think I Would Go To Kansas”: Abraham Lincoln, the Sunflower State, and the Election of 1860

Christopher Phillips, University of Cincinnati; "Purely a question of power not one of law”: The Contours of Federal Occupation in Civil War Missouri, 1861-1863

Joseph M. Beilein Jr., University of Missouri – Columbia; The Guerrilla Shirt: A Labor of Love and the Fashion of Rebellion in Civil War Missouri

Diane Mutti Burke, University of Missouri – Kansas City; “Slavery Dies Hard”: Enslaved Missourians’ Struggle for Freedom

Regular breaks are scheduled throughout this session. A question and answer session follows the presentations.

BOOK SALE

Friday, November 11, 2011
General Sales: 12 noon – 6 p.m.
Book Signing: 5 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Plaza Branch, 4801 Main St.

A Border Wars Book Fair sponsored by the UMKC Book Store featuring an extensive list of titles relating to the Bleeding Kansas period and the Civil War in the trans-Mississippi West concludes with a with a book signing by authors participating in the symposium.

CONFERENCE SESSION

The Border Reconstructed and Remembered
Saturday, November 12, 2011
Continental Breakfast: 8:30 a.m. ● Program: 9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Plaza Branch, 4801 Main St.

The Border Reconstructed and Remembered, moderated by Gary Kremer, The State Historical Society of Missouri, and featuring talks by:

Aaron Astor, Maryville College; The Lexington Weekly Caucasian: White Supremacist Discourse in Post-Civil War Western Missouri

John McKerley, The State Historical Society of Missouri; Across the Bloody Chasm: Race, Liberalism, and the Reconstruction of Missouri Politics

Brent Campney, University of Texas – Pan American; “A Negro Hunting Ground?”: White Supremacy and Racist Violence in Kansas from the Civil War to the Exodus

Jeremy Neely, Missouri State University; The Quantrill Men Reunions: The Border Wars, Fifty Years On

Jennifer Weber, University of Kansas; “William Quantrill Is My Homeboy,” or, The Border Wars Go to College

Regular breaks are scheduled throughout this session. A question and answer session follows the presentations.