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Wesleyan Windows on the World – April 27 & 28

Wesleyan Windows on the World presents:

“The Crossroads of Our Being” The Continuing Significance of the American Civil War 

When eminent novelist and Civil War chronicler Shelby Foote called the Civil War “the crossroads of our being,” he indicated the central significance of the war to our national consciousness. In this fourth session of Wesleyan Windows on the World, four scholars will reflect on various aspects of this seminal event, including its military, political, and artistic elements.  Participants will have the opportunity to join in our national conversation about the Civil War as we observe the sesquicentennial of our nation’s defining conflict.

The 2-day event will be held at the NC Wesleyan College Dunn Center for the Performing Arts, 3400 N. Wesleyan Blvd., Rocky Mount, NC

Friday, April 27, 3:00 – 8:45 p.m. – Dinner included

Saturday, April 28, 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Admission cost – $120.00 per person, including dinner

To view suggested pre-readings, information about the faculty, the schedule, and to register online:


For telephone registration, call 252-985-5197 or 800-303-5097.

Seating is limited! The registration deadline is April 16, 2012.


Presenters for Wesleyan Windows on the World

Fred Kiger — “The Military Pendulum of America’s Civil War” 

Many regard the three-day battle at Gettysburg as “the turning point of the Civil War.”  Quite simply, in a conflict that included over 10,000 fights and spanned four years, there were several battles and events that turned and tipped this nation’s greatest and most tragic event.  This presentation will investigate them and their consequences in the quest to allow one to better understand the ebb and flow of the American Civil War.

Dr. Jonathan Sarris — “The Reasons Why — The Motivations of Civil War Soldiers”

Because the Civil War was fought mostly by volunteers, a vital question is what motivated millions of young men (and a few women) to endure four years of horrific combat? This presentation will examine the reasons why soldiers fought by examining their own words, exploring the true meaning of the war for those who bore its heaviest burden.

Dr. Cameron Matthews –“Politics of the Civil War Era”

The politics of the American Civil War are vast, complex and had a dramatic influence on national development.  This presentation will focus on the major political developments that led to the war, important political events during the war and the war’s effects on American politics.  Topics include the Constitutional Convention, the Compromise of 1820, The Compromise of 1850, The Kansas-Nebraska Act, the elections of 1860 and 1864, the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments and several civil rights acts.

Roger Drake — “Representing the Civil War in the Arts”

This presentation will examine and demonstrate the way in which the war is remembered and portrayed in contemporary theater and fine arts.  It will feature a staged reading of a play written about the Civil War in Rocky Mount by North Carolina Wesleyan’s Jefferson Pilot Professor, Roger Drake, performed by his students.


Seminar Schedule for April 27-28, 2012

Dunn Center for the Performing Arts, NCWC, 3400 N. Wesleyan Blvd., Rocky Mount, NC

Friday, April 27

  • 2:30-3:00 pm - Check in (Civic Gallery, Mims Gallery entrance, Dunn Center)
  • 3:00-3:15 pm - Welcome and Introduction (Carlton Board Room)
    James A. Gray, President, North Carolina Wesleyan College
  • 3:15-4:30 pm - Session I: “The Military Pendulum of America’s Civil War”- Fred Kiger, Presenter
  • 4:30-4:45 pm - Break
  • 4:45-6:00 pm - Session II: “Representing the Civil War in the Arts” – Roger Drake, Presenter
  • 6:00-6:30 pm - Reception (Mims Gallery)
  • 6:30-7:45 pm – Dinner (Mims Gallery)
  • 7:45-8:45 pm – Presenter and Participant Discussion

Saturday, April 28

  • 8:45-9:00 am     - Check in (Warner Meeting Room, Braswell Memorial Library)
  • 9:00-10:15 am   – Session III: “The Reasons Why-The Motivations of the Civil War Soldiers”- Dr. Jonathan Sarris, Presenter
  • 10:15-10:30 am - Break
  • 10:30-11:45 am - Session IV: “Politics of the Civil War Era”- Dr. Cameron Matthews, Presenter    
  • 11:45-12:00 pm – Concluding Remarks