Lima, New York- As part of its continuing commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, Genesee Community College at Lima will offer an interactive presentation entitled "Northern Morality and Southern Honor: How Victorian Culture Laid the Foundation of the Civil War" featuring history instructor Derek Maxfield. This presentation will feature Maxfield in a full Victorian costume. The free presentation is available to schools and community groups throughout the GLOW region.
This program is designed to highlight the cultural similarities and differences of the north and south. In particular, the presentation will examine how northern evangelicalism created a code of morality that was fairly rigid and clearly defined right and wrong, good and evil. This, in turn, influenced the abolitionist movement that put the south on the defensive. Southern Victorian culture was defined by a code of honor so deeply embedded in their psyche that most southern men would say they would sacrifice anything and everything – even their lives – rather than lose honor.
"Mr. Maxfield's program offers a creative way for students to take a step back in time and get a sense of everyday Victorian life," Amie Alden, Livingston County Historian said.
Mr. Maxfield's presentation, in costume, is free to all schools and community groups. The presentation is most appropriate for junior and senior high school students. An adapted shorter program is available for younger students that focuses more on the Victorian costume and the rules and manners established by the Victorians.
"I am excited at the prospect of going out into the schools. I hope I can get young people to see how culture lays the foundation for behavior,” Maxfield said. “If we try to understand the Civil War according to our modern sensibilities, it makes no sense. But if we can understand Victorian culture first, then consider events of the period, it makes more sense and allows us to understand 19th century Americans on their terms. All too often, when we study the Civil War, we jump right to the action - to the battles and military actors. Perhaps I can provide a different way of thinking about that terrible war."
The Victorian Gentleman presentations are part of the Lima Campus Center’s Civil War Initiative (CWI), a multi-year program for community members to learn about and commemorate the rich history of the American Civil War. The CWI will provide several opportunities throughout the year to discover the history of the Civil War through lectures, movies and other educational activities.
For further information please contact the Lima Campus Center at 585-582-1226 or visit www.genesee.edu/Lima.
# # #