Keynote Address by Historian Michael Fellman Kicks Off Border Wars Conference at The Kansas City Public Library

For Immediate Release:
October 20, 2011
Contact: Henry Fortunato
816.701.3514
Keynote Address by Historian Michael Fellman Kicks Off Border Wars Conference at The Kansas City Public Library

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, speaks on "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, on Thursday, November 10, 2011 at the Kansas City Public Library's Central Library, 14 W. 10th St., at 6:30 p.m. A 6 p.m. reception precedes the presentation.

Fellman is professor of history emeritus at SimonFraserUniversity in Vancouver, British Columbia and the author of seven books, including Inside War: The Guerrilla Conflict in Missouri During the American Civil War, Citizen Sherman, Antislavery Reconsidered, Lincoln's Generals, and The Making of Robert E. Lee.

Fellman's talk serves as the keynote address for the Border Wars Conference, a scholarly symposium featuring 17 leading scholars of the Civil War-era conflict in Missouri and Kansas that takes place at the Kansas City Public Library's Truman Forum auditorium in the Plaza Branch, 4801 Main St. on Friday, November 11, 2011 from 8:30 a.m. - 6 p.m. and Saturday, November 12, 2011 from 8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Additionally, a Border Wars Book Fair featuring an extensive list of titles relating to the Bleeding Kansas period and the Civil War in the trans-Mississippi West takes place at the Plaza Branch on Friday, November 11, 2011 from 12 noon to 6 p.m., with a book signing by authors participating in the symposium from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Admission to the Thursday night keynote address, the Friday and Saturday conference sessions, and the Friday book fair is free. RSVP onlineor call 816.701.3407.

"With its horrific combination of robbery, arson, torture, murder, and swift and bloody raids on farms and settlements, the Kansas-Missouri border region experienced some of the most widespread, prolonged, and destructive guerrilla fighting in American history," notes Jonathan Earle, associate professor of history at the University of Kansas, and conference co-organizer. "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 experiences of Missouri and Kansas residents during the era of the Border Wars is a window on the issues and circumstances that shattered the union during the Civil War," adds Diane Mutti Burke, associate professor of history at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and conference co-organizer.  "It was on the Kansas-Missouri border that Americans first grappled with the problem of liberty and slavery face to face - some even shedding blood in the interest of their cause.  An exploration of this most uncivil of wars also provides insight into the ways in which societies can be fragmented by ideology and ultimately rebuilt upon different lines." 

In addition to the keynote address by Fellman, conference sessions include

  • Making the Border Bleed: Slavery and Politics in Territorial Kansas featuring talks by Kristen Epps, University of Colorado - Pueblo; Nicole Etcheson, Ball State University; Kristen Tegtmeier Oertel, University of Tulsa; and Pearl Ponce, Ithaca College; and moderated by Virgil Dean, Kansas Historical Society; Friday, November 11, 2011, 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. RSVP onlineor call 816.701.3407.
  • Sectional Crisis and Civil War on the Western Border, 1860-1865 featuring talks by Randy Mullis, Command and General Staff College; Jonathan Earle, University of Kansas; Christopher Phillips, University of Cincinnati; Joseph M. Beilein Jr., University of Missouri - Columbia; and Diane Mutti Burke, University of Missouri - Kansas City; and moderated by William Piston, Missouri State University; Friday, November 11, 2011, 1:30 p.m. - 5 p.m. RSVP onlineor call 816.701.3407.
  • The Border Reconstructed and Remembered featuring talks by Aaron Astor, MaryvilleCollege; John McKerley, State Historical Society of Missouri; Brent Campney, University of Texas - Pan American; Jeremy Neely, MissouriStateUniversity; and Jennifer Weber, University of Kansas; moderated by Gary Kremer, State Historical Society of Missouri; Saturday, November 12, 2011, 9 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. RSVP onlineor call 816.701.3407.

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 c-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, and the Bernardin Haskell Lecture Fund and the Center for Regional Studies at the University of Missouri - Kansas City.