fo rum The Future of Reconstruction Studies Political History Thomas C. Holt http://journalofthecivilwarera.org/ forum-the-future-of-reconstruction-studies This essay describes how the traditional understanding of Reconstruction politics--as one focused on elections and office holding--was transformed by revisionist work during the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Although the most explicit statement and application of the new paradigm to Reconstruction politics was featured in Steven Hahn's A Nation under Our Feet (2003), its conceptual origins can be found in the massive archival, documentary project of the Freedom and Southern Society project at the University of Maryland and in theories of politics that emerged during the third wave of feminism. The Freedom project provided the conceptual foundation and data for reimagining a black grassroots politics in the postemancipation era, while feminist insights helped redefine the nature of "the political." Scholars like Elsa Barkley Brown ("Negotiating and Transforming the Public Sphere") and Laura Edwards (Gendered Strife and Confusion) would soon deploy those insights to reframe the political history of black Reconstruction. In turn, this conceptual rethinking of "the political" enabled a new generation of scholars to reconceptualize the more conventional approaches to politics, as well. Hannah Rosen, for example, would show how the imbrication of ideas about private and public spheres shaped both constitutional debates and racial violence, while a number of others (Stephanie McCurry, Stephanie Camp, Nancy Bercaw, Leslie Schwalm, and others) revealed how the politics of gender ideologies and roles had figured into practically every major "political" issue as households grounded in the social relations of antebellum slavery unraveled in the postemancipation era.
The Journal of the Civil War Era – University of North Carolina Press
Published: Jan 26, 2017