On Veterans Day weekend, 1994, the remains of a Confederate soldier named Lewis Powell were reinterred in a cemetery in Geneva, Florida and given military honors. This thesis begins by historicizing Powell's burial ceremony to the final decades of the twentieth century to argue for new ways of viewing and understanding how Americans engaged with Civil War memory and legacy at a time of particularly felt social and cultural change. The 'culture wars' of the 1980s and 1990s describe the many battles and debates fought over issues as wide-ranging as race, politics, gender, sexuality, religion, and education, and were often contended with alongside and within the shadow of the Civil War. Extending outward from the initial example of Powell's burial, this project examines various features of American culture and society of the era, from the ways political figures invoked images and representations of the Civil War to navigate these 'culture wars,' to the ways ideology and material practices inform contemporary Civil War remembrances, to the popular embrace of Civil War themes and depictions in numerous texts and media of the time, to argue that the preoccupation with the Civil War at the end of the twentieth century proved crucial to the ways Americans understood and navigated national change.
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Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Arts and Humanities
English; Literary, Cultural and Textual Studies
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Lancaster, John, "National Identity and Civil War Memory in the American South: How History, Ideology, and Media Inform the Culture Wars of the Late Twentieth Century" (2022). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2020-. 1036.