USAO to host scholars for Civil War Symposium in June

Logo for the Oklahoma Civil War Symposium

USAO to host scholars for Civil War Symposium in June


As part of the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma’s continuing work to highlight what is unique about Oklahoma, the university is transforming its annual summer history symposium to the Oklahoma Civil War Symposium.

Beginning at 2 p.m. on June 19 in Te Ata Memorial Auditorium, the symposium will feature three renowned Civil War scholars discussing wide-ranging aspects of the conflict. The final speaker will take the stage at 7:30 p.m. and a book signing with all three presenters will follow.

A two-hour break will separate the second and third lectures. Attendees are welcome to explore Chickasha or join the speakers for dinner in the USAO Ballroom. Cost of the dinner will be $30 per person and registration is required by June 9. Register online at or call 405-574-1349.

The history symposium began in 2012 to honor the 150-year anniversary of the Civil War. The initial idea was to continue with the Civil War through 2017 before moving on to other historical topics; however, USAO has decided it can serve Oklahoma better by focusing its efforts on one historical era and one major event. This year’s lineup will include Dr. James Finck, USAO; Dr. Caroline Janney, Purdue University; and Dr. Ronald C. White, bestselling author on Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant.

“This isn’t your typical dry academic conference,” said Finck, associate professor of history and coordinator of the symposium. “The scholars we are bringing in for this symposium really make these stories live and breathe. They will not only cover the fascinating history of this critical part of the American story, but they will show the audience how the lessons we can learn from the Civil War are absolutely relevant to our present-day society.”

White’s most recent work is “American Ulysses: A Life of Ulysses S. Grant,” which Gen. David H. Petraeus (Ret.) wrote “[is] certain to be recognized as the classic work on Ulysses S. Grant.” White is also the author of three books on Abraham Lincoln, all of which have received numerous lauds in the national media. He received his Ph.D. in religion and history from Princeton University and is currently a fellow at Huntington Library in San Marino, Cali. and a senior fellow at the Trinity Forum in Washington D.C.

Janney is the author of numerous books and essays on the Civil War and its aftermath, including “Remembering the Civil War: Reunion and the Limits of Reconciliation” and “Burying the Dead but Not the Past: Ladies’ Memorial Associations and the Lost Cause.” An active public speaker, Janney has presented at the Lincoln Presidential Library, the Gettysburg College Civil War Institute, and has appeared on C-SPAN and National Public Radio. She completed a Ph.D. at the University of Virginia.

Finck has been an associate professor of history at USAO since 2011, specializing in political history and the Civil War. He is the author of several books and is currently finishing a manuscript on the history of USAO. Finck is also beginning research on the Battle of Honey Springs, the largest Civil War battle in what would become Oklahoma. He has worked closely with staff at the site for the past four years and teaches a class in battlefield interpretation each summer. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Arkansas in 2008.

For more information contact Finck at 405-574-1229 or