Mapping Memory: Sherman's March and America

History Professor Anne Sarah Rubin received the prestigious American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) Digital Innovation Fellowship for her proposal to document the facts, myths, and perceptions of Sherman's March during the Civil War. Part of this fellowship, written with support from the IRC, included funding for the IRC to design an innovative online site to disseminate the research. Visual Arts Professor Kelley Bell is partnering as Co-PI and designer for the project.

Mapping Memory: Sherman's March and America uses digital media to explore the ways that Americans have remembered one event during the American Civil War - William T. Sherman's march across Georgia in late 1864. Five different maps, representing five topical approaches, allow users to trace Sherman's men's path across the landscape. Each map has a variety of mini-documentaries keyed to locations on the landscape providing a kaleidoscope of perspectives ranging from former slaves to Southern white women, to Union veterans to modern tourists, to fiction to film, and to popular music. Rather than simply telling the story of the march, or building an archive of primary documents, Mapping Memory seeks to enter the debate over the interpretation of this important moment in American history.

The maps used in the site interface are drawn from the Library of Congress American Memory collection and other sources about the March. Under Professor Bell's direction student researchers at the IRC create short videos utilizing these images and others from the Civil War era, such as printed ephemera and documentary photographs, or they create their own contemporary imagery in response to the original historic material. The diverse media used to create the short films presented in Mapping Memory (animation, video, and photography) reflects the numerous and subjective histories that follow in the wake of one of the Civil War's most controversial campaigns.

IRC online interactive designer Veronica Noone, graduate student Andy Hsu, and Visual Arts undergraduate Jamie Nola have created the on-going production of the media rich site.

Papers and Presentations

  • Through the Heart of Dixie: Sherman's March and America, Richmond Civil War Roundtable, 2011
  • Beyond Archives and Illustrations: New Directions for Digital History, University of Alabama Digital Humanities Center, 2011
  • Through the Heart of Dixie: Sherman's March and America, University of Leiden American Studies Seminar, March 2011
  • Through the Heart of Dixie: Sherman's March and America, Anne Arundel County Civil War Round table, December 2010
  • Sherman's March and America, OSHER at Johns Hopkins Guest Lecture Series, October 2010
  • Mapping Memory, presentation at Nebraska Digital History Meeting, September 2010

Production Notes

Project Co-PIs: Anne Sarah Rubin, Kelley Bell
Information and Web Design: Veronica Noone
Additional Web Design: Jamie Nola, Andy Hsu
Sherman's March Website:
This IRC interdisciplinary collaboration is being supported in part by funds from the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation.