Civil War Canon

Sites of Confederate Memory in South Carolina

By Thomas J. Brown

376 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 33 halftones, 2 maps, notes, bibl., index

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-2095-4
    Published: February 2015
  • eBook ISBN: 978-1-4696-2096-1
    Published: February 2015
  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-4227-7
    Published: February 2018

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Awards & distinctions

A Civil War Monitor Honorable Mention Best Book of 2015

In this expansive history of South Carolina’s commemoration of the Civil War era, Thomas J. Brown uses the lens of place to examine the ways that landmarks of Confederate memory have helped white southerners negotiate their shifting political, social, and economic positions. By looking at prominent sites such as Fort Sumter, Charleston's Magnolia Cemetery, and the South Carolina statehouse, Brown reveals a dynamic pattern of contestation and change. He highlights transformations of gender norms and establishes a fresh perspective on race in Civil War remembrance by emphasizing the fluidity of racial identity within the politics of white supremacy.

Despite the conservative ideology that connects these sites, Brown argues that the Confederate canon of memory has adapted to address varied challenges of modernity from the war's end to the present, when enthusiasts turn to fantasy to renew a faded myth while children of the civil rights era look for a usable Confederate past. In surveying a rich, controversial, and sometimes even comical cultural landscape, Brown illuminates the workings of collective memory sustained by engagement with the particularity of place.

About the Author

Thomas J. Brown has taught at the University of South Carolina since 1996.
For more information about Thomas J. Brown, visit the Author Page.

Reviews

“An excellent contribution to the still-fertile field of Civil War memory and offers timely insight into the South Carolina of June 17, 2015.”--Journal of American History

“A well-timed study. . . . Extremely well written and engaging.”--Journal of Southern History

“A fine history of the people and landmarks of South Carolina that stand as edifices to both the Confederate past and what this past meant for communities enduring the throes of modernization.”--Journal of the North Carolina Association of Historians

“Demonstrates the profound discontinuities of Confederate memory in South Carolina.”--Journal of American Culture

"At a time when one could ask, fairly, what is left to say about Civil War memory, Thomas J. Brown offers us a fresh and revealing analysis. Lost Cause scholarship often approaches the subject with an emphasis on a particular context--politics, or gender studies, or economic change. Brown threads these disparate approaches together and moves the study of Confederate memory all the way through the twentieth century, something few historians can claim."--Charles J. Holden, St. Mary's College of Maryland

"There is no place quite like South Carolina for Civil War and Confederate memory. Thomas J. Brown brings a sophisticated, critical eye and a witty pen to this enduring controversy, showing a host of ways over 150 years that the Confederacy has endured and changed as it collided with modernity on the artistic and civic landscapes of the first state to secede. This book is a brilliant new turn in our quest to know why that war and its results have never gone away."--David W. Blight, Yale University, author of Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory

Multimedia & Links

Read: Brown's guest blog post, "Confederate Retweet," on our Civil War 150 blog.