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German American Communism, African American Conjure, and the Civil War in the United States

This event last occurred Oct. 10, 2019

A lecture by Professor Zimmerman

Most histories of the U.S. Civil War assume that the Union drew on exclusively U.S. political traditions to overthrow slavery and thus perfect freedom supposed to have inhered in the nation from the beginning.

Andrew Zimmerman will show instead how German American Union soldiers drawing on European Communism and enslaved rebels drawing on Afro-Atlantic religious traditions (Conjure, or Hoodoo, and Vodou/Voodoo) forced emancipation on an unwilling Union leadership and helped defeat the Confederacy during the American Civil War. This is part of the intellectual and military history of what W.E.B. DuBois described as the “General Strike” of enslaved workers. While the Lincoln administration and top Union generals fought to restore the status quo antebellum, slavery and all, German emigres and enslaved African Americans helped create what Carl von Clausewitz termed “war by means of popular uprisings.” 

Speaker bio

Andrew Zimmerman is a professor of history at George Washington University. He is the author of "Alabama in Africa: Booker T. Washington, the German Empire, and the Globalization of the New South" (Princeton, 2010) and "Anthropology and Antihumanism in Imperial Germany" (Chicago, 2001). He has also edited Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, "The Civil War in the United States" (International Publishers, 2016). He is currently writing a history of the American Civil War as a transnational working-class rebellion titled “A Very Dangerous Element.”

This event is sponsored by the Goethe-Institut, School of International Letters and Cultures, School of Historical, Philosophical and Religous Studies, School of Social Transformation, and Department of English. 

Coor Hall Room 4403

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For More Information Contact:

Christiane Reves
School of International Letters and Cultures, School of Social Transformation, School of Historical, Phil