Thursday, April 7, 2011

Studying the Civil War? Virginia Tech's the Place to Start

Hey, Civil War buffs, your dream has come true. You can thank Virginia Tech. Here's the press release you've been waiting for:

The Civil War began 150 years ago this year. To quench the thirst for knowledge about the conflict that the sesquicentennial fosters, Virginia Tech has launched the Essential Civil War Curriculum Web site.

Housed by the the Virginia Center for Civil War Studies at Virginia Tech, the website is part of the center’s project commemorating the century and a half since the outbreak of fighting. The curriculum’s information, organized based on the model used by Wikipedia, is aimed at people of all ages whether they are scholars, amateur historians, teachers, or students. Eventually, the website will include more than 400 topics pertaining to the war.

“The aim of the Essential Civil War Curriculum is to increase interest in and knowledge of the American Civil War during the sesquicentennial,” said William C. Davis, professor of history in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and director of programs at the Virginia Center for Civil War Studies.  “The center’s mission is to be a formal entity for studying and sharing knowledge about the Civil War with both the academic and public community. The new website is an extension of that goal.”

Davis and James I. Robertson Jr., Alumni Distinguished Professor of history and director of the Virginia Center for Civil War Studies, are the sponsors of the Essential Civil War Curriculum website.

Civil War scholars are invited to contribute items to the website much as is done on Wikipedia. The Virginia Center for Civil War Studies’ Board of Historians, composed of eminent scholars in the field, will review all contributed content to determine whether it will be posted on the curriculum site. Davis and Robertson will make the final decision on inclusions of material.

“We have launched the website with a handful of topics that our Board of Historians prepared to encourage other scholars to participate in the process,” said Laurie Woodruff, executive director and editor of the Essential Civil War Curriculum. “We expect the content to grow rapidly and steadily. If readers don’t find the information they want to access initially, we encourage them to browse the items already published and then keep returning to the site as its database increases.”


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