Episode #44 Yes, It Is Time for a New Civil War Documentary - with Keri Leigh Merritt


I am sure you are all familiar with Keri Leigh Merritt’s Smithsonian article calling for a new Civil War documentary. If not, maybe read it first - then listen to the show. When I read it I completely agreed that we needed a new documentary - if anything because nearly three decades have passed since the last major effort by Ken Burns and there has been a ton of work on the Civil War since. It seems only right that the public have a avenue along which they can get up to date. Keri Leigh’s ideas got me thinking about all kinds of other stuff, including my role as a historian who regularly engages in public discourse. So naturally I had to have her on the show to dig a little deeper. We discuss…

  • Why we need a Civil War documentary for a 21st century audience

  • Shelby Foote and the Lost Cause

  • Professional historians as gatekeepers

  • Diversity, meritocracy, and public engagement

  • Historians, activism, and my personal skepticism

  • Punk Rock (yes, that’s right)

Keri Leigh Merritt is the author of Masterless Men: Poor Whites and Slavery in the Antebellum South, which won both the Bennett Wall Award from the Southern Historical Association, honoring the best book in Southern economic or business history published in the previous two years, as well as the President’s Book Award from the Social Science History Association. She is the co-editor, with Matthew Hild, of Reconsidering Southern Labor History: Race, Class, and Power, which won the 2019 Best Book Award from the UALE (United Association for Labor Education). You can find her publishing all across the Interwebs and on Twitter @KeriLeighMerrit and the YouTube channel Merrittocracy

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