Millennialism and Providentialism in the era of the Civil War -- Repost of CFP

Call for Papers

Millennialism and Providentialism in the Era of the American Civil War

October 1-2, 2010

Rice University

Houston, Texas

The Department of History at Rice University invites proposals for a special conference focusing on millennialism and providentialism in the era of the American Civil War and Reconstruction to be held on the campus of Rice University in Houston, Texas on October 1-2, 2010. An opening address will be given by Robert Abzug of the University of Texas at Austin on the theme of antebellum millennialism and providentialism in the coming of the American Civil War. Edward J. Blum, Associate Professor at San Diego State University will likewise offer a concluding address on the postbellum era.

Millennial energies imbued antebellum American culture with both apocalyptic eschatology and zeal for reform rooted in an optimistic belief in social improvement. In addition to forming the basis of eschatology, millennialism and providentialism set the limits of human and divine agency, explained causation in the past, and defined the possibilities of the future. Recent studies have emphasized the importance of the Civil War in recasting the millennial spirit and providential expectations that coursed through antebellum culture. Yet recent historiography leaves pressing questions unanswered as to the fate of these energies after the War. It is to this end that the history department at Rice University seeks to initiate a critical reconsideration of millennialism, the Civil War era, and American culture.

Proposals may consider a variety of topics relating to millennialism, providentialism, and/or expectations for the future during the nineteenth century. Proposals should include an abstract of approximately 300 words and a single page CV. Submissions from graduate students and junior scholars are encouraged, as are those that draw on interdisciplinary methods that challenge the traditional boundaries of historical study. Presented papers will also be considered for publication in an anthology on the same topic. A limited amount of funding for travel may be available to students and scholars who are unable to obtain funding from their own institution. Proposals must be received by April 16, 2010 and should be sent by email to or by post to 2010 History Conference; c/o Ben Wright; Rice University History Department; 6100 Main Street, MS—42; Houston, Texas 77054.


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