Author Archives: Sarah Jones Weicksel

About Sarah Jones Weicksel

Sarah Jones Weicksel is a historian of 19th-century United States. She is the author of several articles and is currently at work on a book manuscript entitled, "The Fabric of War: Clothing, Culture and Violence in the American Civil War Era." She earned her PhD in history from the University of Chicago, an MA in American material culture from the Winterthur Program at the University of Delaware, and a BA in history from Yale University.

The Struggle to Commemorate Reconstruction

Following the American Civil War, the United States engaged in a process of reconstruction that was not only political and constitutional in nature, but also had serious, lasting cultural and social ramifications for the nation as a whole. During this period, formerly enslaved southern African Americans worked to reunite with families and created communities, while legislatures and courts debated who counted as a citizen and what rights they possessed. Americans were grappling with critical questions: What would freedom look like? What national identity would emerge from war?

A Vaccine for National Healing? Historians on The Vietnam War

Released in September 2017, The Vietnam War, Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s 10-part, 18-hour documentary series, has been widely acclaimed by film critics. In an interview with the Harvard Gazette, Burns addressed the timing of the film, explaining, “You need the passage of time, the triangulation of scholarly information.” And yet, while historians—makers of such scholarly information—were consulted in the making of the series, their voices—and their interpretive disputes—are notably missing on screen. 

Changing the Narrative: “The State and Future of the Humanities in the United States”

“Are the humanities in crisis?” For the past decade, this question, and answers to it, has been posed in numerous articles and opinion pieces nationwide. Underlying it is an unspoken lament for a former, halcyon state of humanities education and research. “The State and Future of the Humanities in the United States”—a plenary session at the 2018 AHA annual meeting—however, looked decidedly toward the future: a future that certainly draws upon lessons from the past, but one that must be prepared to tackle and embrace different approaches to education, professions, and the place of the humanities in public life.

New Perspectives on Histories of the Slave Trade

Intertwined. Overlapping. Interconnected. The complicated entanglement of slave trading, geographies, and ethnicities was the focus of the Thursday night plenary, “New Perspectives on Histories of the Slave Trade,” at the 2018 AHA annual meeting. In papers ranging in focus from trade routes in the western Indian Ocean to forced treks across Brazil’s interior to mangrove slave trading ports, the panelists revealed how histories of slave trading offer opportunities to rethink the construction of race and ethnicity from a global perspective, the broader theme of this year’s meeting.

Historians and Material Culture

This is one of a series of AHA Today posts on subjects of importance to the history profession that were discussed at the 2015 annual meeting. The author, Sarah Jones Weicksel, is a PhD candidate in US history and a fellow at the Center for the Study for Gender and Sexuality at the University of Chicago. She is currently at work on her dissertation, entitled “The Fabric of War: Clothing, Culture and Violence in the American Civil War Era.” She received an MA from the Winterthur Program in American Material Culture at the University of Delaware and a BA in history from Yale University.