Southern Intellectual History Circle Annual Meeting!

The 2015 Annual Meeting of the Southern Intellectual History Circle is being coordinated by O. Vernon Burton, executive director of the Carolina Lowcountry and Atlantic World program.

The Edgefield County Historical Society is pleased to announce that the Annual Meeting of the Southern Intellectual History Circle (“SIHC”) will be held in Edgefield on February 19-21, 2015.  This interdisciplinary group of scholars, mostly historians and students of literature and other humanities fields, includes some of the foremost authorities on Southern thought and culture from universities and colleges around the United States and abroad. It is expected that approximately fifty scholars will attend the three-day event.  The group gathers annually to hear and discuss presentations based on fresh research by its members on a broad range of topics related to the intellectual life of the South over the four centuries of its history.

One of the most active organizations of its kind in the state, the Edgefield County Historical Society hosted the SIHC’s meeting in 1999, and the SIHC accepted the Society’s invitation to return to Edgefield for its 2015 meeting.  This year the South Carolina Historical Society, the University of South Carolina’s Caroliniana Society, the Pearce Center for Professional Communication at Clemson University, Clemson University College of Architecture, Arts, and Humanities will be co-sponsors of the event.  At the 1999 meeting, participants included C. Vann Woodward, one of the most renowned Southern historians of all time, Sheldon Hackney, then President of the University of Pennsylvania and Drew Gilpin Faust, now President of Harvard University.  The 1999 meeting was a resounding success, with many participants saying that their experience in Edgefield was the best that they had known in all of the years of the organization’s history.

The Society will provide session and meal venues unique to Edgefield, including historic churches, homes, and the Court House. Presentations will be open to area residents without charge. An unusual feature of the SIHC meetings is the separate blocks of time reserved for discussion of the presentations, led by other qualified scholars.  The conference will open on Thursday evening with a keynote address by Susan Donaldson, National Endowment of the Humanities Professor of English at the College of William and Mary.  At the Friday morning session, scholars who have read the keynote address in advance will comment upon it.  Other Friday sessions will be of varying lengths in which up to four scholars present their research formally with one or more respondents, having read the papers in advance, commenting upon them. At the Saturday sessions, all participants are invited to join in discussing the papers presented earlier.

The Edgefield County Historical Society believes that this event can have an enormously favorable impact on Edgefield County.  The dozens of eminent scholars who will be here for this event will be writing many papers and books in the coming years.  Their positive experience while they are here will hopefully result in more favorable treatment to our community.

Southern Intellectual History Circle

2015 Annual Meeting

February 19-21, 2015

Edgefield, South Carolina

Program Schedule

Thursday, February 19th

3 to 5:00 p.m.       Check-in at the Edgefield Inn

5:00 p.m.               Welcoming Reception – Oakley Park

6:30 p.m.               Dinner at the Old Edgefield Grill

8:00 p.m.               Session Begins – Edgefield County Courthouse

Introduction: Jim Farmer, University of South Carolina, Aiken

Keynote Address, Susan Donaldson, College of William and Mary

“Why We’re Still Talking about Southern Stories and Storytellers

in the Age of Obama, Tea Party Politics, and The Help”

10:00 p.m.             Adjourn to the Edgefield Inn for reception and mingling

Friday, February 20th

9:00 a.m.               Session – Trinity Episcopal Church

Responses to Keynote Address:

Chair, Vernon Burton, Clemson University

Eric Gary Anderson, George Mason University

  1. Fitzhugh Brundage, University of North Carolina

Natalie Ring, University of Texas, Dallas

Jay Watson, University of Mississippi

11:00-11:15           Coffee Break

11:15                     Session I – Edgefield First Baptist Church

Print Culture in the Nineteenth Century South

Chair: Margaret Abruzzo, University of Alabama

Beth Schweiger, University of Arkansas

Michael Winship, University of Texas, Austin

Responses: Jonathan Wells, University of Michigan

Sarah Gardner, Mercer University

1:15-2:30               Lunch – Willowbrook Cemetery (weather permitting)

Friday, February 20th (continued)

2:30-4:30               Session II – St. Mary’s Catholic Church

Revisiting and Revising the Lost Cause:

Chair, Doug Thompson, Mercer University

Art Remillard, Saint Francis University

Keith Harper, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

Edward Crowther, Adams State University


Chad Seales, University of Texas (Austin)

Charles Reagan Wilson, University of Mississippi

6:00 p.m.               Leave on the bus for Redcliff Plantation via Graniteville

7:00 p.m.               Dinner at Redcliff

9:00 p.m.               Get on Bus to return to Edgefield Inn

9:30 p.m.               Social at the Edgefield Inn

Saturday, Feb 21

9:30-11:30             Session – Macedonia Church

Circle Discussion of Session I Margaret Abruzzo, Moderator

11:30-1:00             Lunch – Magnolia Dale house museum

1:00-3:00               Session – Edgefield United Methodist Church

Circle Discussion of Session II: Doug Thompson, Moderator

For those who are not leaving immediately after the last session, tours will be available in the afternoon and an evening dinner party given.