Historians Rable and Reynolds to showcase at 2024 Marszalek Speaker Series

STARKVILLE, Miss.—George C. Rable, former Charles G. Summersell Chair in Southern History and now a Professor Emeritus at the University of Alabama, teams up with Ryan Reynolds, a Ph.D. candidate hailing from Oakland, California, delving into American military history and the Cold War, as they headline the 2024 John F. and Jeanne A. Marszalek Lecture Series set to unfold at Mississippi State.

The much-anticipated event, accessible to all and offered free of charge, is scheduled for Thursday, March 7, starting at 6 p.m. in the John Grisham Room located in Mitchell Memorial Library.

Annually hosted in March, the Marszalek Lecture Series spotlights an esteemed MSU graduate student and a nationally renowned historian, aiming to showcase their scholarly contributions and to promote the utilization of primary sources in historical investigations, according to David Nolen, MSU Libraries’ Associate Dean for Archives and Special Collections.

“The objective of the lecture is to afford students the opportunity to listen to original research findings presented by both a student and a seasoned academic,” mentioned Nolen.

Rable’s presentation will revolve around “The Promised War: Expectations, Fears, and Hopes as Americans Confronted their Civil War,” while Reynolds will delve into “The Transnational Beat: America’s Paramilitary Turn in Policing.”

Rable boasts an impressive lineup of publications focusing on the Civil War era, including his works “Fredericksburg! Fredericksburg!”—a recipient of the esteemed Lincoln Prize—and “God’s Almost Chosen Peoples: A Religious History of the American Civil War” (both from University of North Carolina Press, 2002 and 2010, respectively); “Damn Yankees! Demonization and Defiance in the Confederate South,” and his most recent piece “Conflict of Command: George McClellan, Abraham Lincoln, and the Politics of War” (Louisiana State University Press, 2015 and 2023, respectively).

Reynolds’ doctoral dissertation shines a spotlight on the confluence between American grand strategy, law enforcement, and the military during the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. He has garnered research grants from the John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Libraries. His scholarly work has been featured in notable publications such as The Strategy Bridge and The Journal of America’s Military Past, and he presently serves as a member of the Editorial Advisory Board for the Journal of Military History.

The inception of the lecture series and the Marszalek Library Fund dates back to 2002 when John F. and Jeanne A. Marszalek bestowed a $20,000 donation for acquiring primary source materials focusing on three facets of American history: Civil War and Reconstruction; Jacksonian America; and race relations. The materials procured through this fund encompass a variety of formats apart from monographs or journals.

“Thanks to the gracious donation by the Marszaleks, the library’s resources are enhanced, and the university’s research and educational undertakings benefit significantly from both the fund and the lecture series,” highlighted Nolen.

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