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Dr. Gerald Prokopowicz

‘Making Sense of the American Civil War’ ECU History Department Chairperson Chosen as Local Project Scholar

In addition to his duties as a professor at East Carolina University, Dr. Gerald Prokopowicz, chair of the Department of History, will share his knowledge of American history with the local community of eastern North Carolina. Prokopowicz is the local project scholar for a grant recently awarded to the New Bern-Craven County Public Library.

The New Bern-Craven County Public Library is one of 65 libraries to receive a competitive national grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Library Association. The grant, “Let’s Talk About it: Making Sense of the American Civil War,” will consist of a series of five public conversations centered on the Civil War.

As project scholar, Prokopowicz will facilitate each of the public discussions, which will take place every two to four weeks from February through April 2012.

“The war took place 150 years ago, but the underlying issues are still active in American culture and politics. Too often those issues are oversimplified for TV cameras or debated in classrooms where only scholars and students can participate,” said Prokopowicz. “This project creates an opportunity for people to have a meaningful, in-depth conversation and to share the many meanings that the war still holds for people in eastern North Carolina.”

Each session will focus on a different facet of the Civil War experience, including such topics as Imagining War, Choosing Sides, Making Sense of Shiloh, The Shape of War, and War and Freedom. Three books will provide material for the discussions: “March,” by Geraldine Brooks; “Crossroads to Freedom: Antietam,” by James McPherson; and the anthology “America’s War: Talking About the Civil War,” edited by Edward L. Ayers.

As part of the grant, the library will receive 25 copies each of “March” and “Crossroads to Freedom” and 50 copies of “America’s War.” A monetary award of $3,000 will be provided to cover project related programming expenses and for travel for Prokopowicz and Joanne Straight, head librarian and the library’s project director on the grant, to attend an orientation workshop held in Chicago, Oct. 13-14.

For additional information about the discussions to be held by the New Bern-Craven County Public Library, contact Straight at 252-638-7800 or by email at jstraight@nbccpl.org.

Detailed information about the ALA grant may be viewed online at www.ala.org/ala/aboutala/offices/ppo/programming/civilwar/ltaicw_guidelines.cfm.

For a complete list of grant recipients, visit www.ala.org/ala/aboutala/offices/ppo/programming/civilwar/civilwar-recipients.cfm.