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Digital scholarship expert will speak on Civil War

Edward L. Ayers

Edward L. Ayers, the Hugh P. Kelly Professor of History and dean of the University of Virginia College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, will deliver the George Harmon Lecture on the Civil War at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 21, in Whitaker Auditorium.

The lecture, which is cosponsored by the Friends of the Lehigh Libraries, the university’s history department, and Library and Technology Services, is free and open to the public.

The talk, titled “What Caused the Civil War: A Digital Triangulation,” is based on his innovative research and seminal Web site, Valley of the Shadow: Two Communities in the American Civil War, an online set of digitized military, political, geographical, and personal records for proximate counties in Virginia and Pennsylvania. Ayers is often cited as the leading authority on digital scholarship and has lectured widely on this topic throughout the country.

Ayers is the author of several award-winning books, including In the Presence of Mine Enemies, War in the Heart of America, which was the recipient of the 2004 Bancroft Prize for a distinguished book in American history. It also was awarded the American Historical Association’s Albert J. Beveridge Award for the best English-language book on the history of the U.S., Canada, or Latin America from 1492 to the present.

He co-authored American Passages: A History of the United States, a widely used college text, with Jean Soderlund, now a Lehigh deputy provost and professor of history.

Other books include Vengeance and Justice: Crime and Punishment in the Nineteenth-Century American South, which won the 1986 J. Willard Hurst Prize for best book in American legal history, and the 1992 book The Promise of the New South: Life After Reconstruction. That book was a finalist for both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize and was widely recognized as the best book on the history of American race relations and on the history of the American South.

Ayers is the senior editor of the 1997 book, The Oxford Book of the American South and is co-author of the 1996 book, All Over the Map: Rethinking American Regions. His most recent work, What Caused the Civil War?, is a collection of essays.

The recipient of several teaching awards, including being named the 2003 National Professor of the Year at doctoral and research universities, Ayers was educated at the University of Tennessee and Yale University, where he received his Ph.D. in American Studies.

For more information about the talk, please call (610) 758-3025.

--Linda Harbrecht

Posted on Thursday, February 16, 2006

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