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Jason Phillips


Teaching Fields

  • Civil War and Reconstruction
  • Southern history
  • Nineteenth-century America


  • Ph.D., Rice University, 2003
  • M.A., Wake Forest University, 1998
  • B.A., University of Richmond, 1996

Research Interests

Dr. Phillips’s research seeks to understand how ordinary Americans faced uncertainties during the Civil War Era and how people’s responses to the conflict changed society and culture. Few subjects have received as much historical treatment as the American Civil War, but the wealth of knowledge that historians have shared about the crisis tends to separate us from the profound doubts and anxieties that overwhelmed the Civil War generation. Dr. Phillips works to recover the perspectives of historical actors as much as possible and learn how the Civil War and Reconstruction affected their worldviews and worlds. Recently, his scholarship engages new materialism to appreciate how the tangible dimensions of Civil War America, its objects, animals, and environments, shaped cultural perceptions and movements. His current book project examines how the profusion of firearms caused by the Civil War changed American gun culture, particularly in the North. 

Dr. Phillips actively recruits graduate students interested in studying the Civil War Era. He also serves as President-Elect of the Society of Civil War Historians.

Graduate Students

Ph.D. Students

Courses Offered

  • HIST 453: Civil War and Reconstruction
  • HIST 454: Antebellum America
  • HIST 468: The Old South
  • HIST 484: Historical Research: Capstone
  • HIST 757: Graduate Readings in U.S. History, 1776-1876
  • HIST 758: Graduate Research Seminar in American History, 1776-1876



Looming Civil War: How Nineteenth-Century Americans Imagined the Future (Oxford University Press, 2018)

Storytelling, History, and the Postmodern South (edited volume, Louisiana State University Press, 2013)

Diehard Rebels: The Confederate Culture of Invincibility (University of Georgia Press, 2007; paperback, 2010)

Journal Issues:

Editor, Ohio Valley History (Winter 2021) Special Issue on Death and Material Culture

Editor with Brian Luskey, Civil War History (June 2017) Special Issue on Material Culture

Selected Articles and Essays:

“Losing Lady Breckinridge: Artillery, Agency, and Assemblage at the Battle of Missionary Ridge,” Ohio Valley History (Winter 2022), 8–21   

“Root Hog or Die: Southern Pigs and Confederate Independence,” Earl Hess, ed., Animal Histories of the Civil War Era (Louisiana State University Press, 2022), 135–48   

“Forts Henry and Donelson: The Material War” Lorien Foote and Earl Hess, eds., Oxford Handbook of the American Civil War (Oxford University Press, 2021), 107–23  

“Taking Things Seriously: Death and Material Culture in Nineteenth-Century America,” Ohio Valley History 20 (Winter 2020), 3–7   

"Attacking Antebellum Slavery on Screen: Hollywood Portrayals of Militant Emancipation,1937–2016," Matthew Hulbert and Matthew Stanley, eds., Martial Culture, Silver Screen: War Movies and the Construction of American Identity (Louisiana State University Press, 2020),47–64

“John Brown’s Pikes: Assembling the Future in Antebellum America,” Joan Cashin, ed.,  War Matters: Material Culture in the Civil War Era (University of North Carolina Press, 2018).

Co-author with Brian Luskey, “Muster: Inspecting the Material Culture of the Civil War,” Civil War History (June 2017), 103–112

“Harpers Ferry Looming: A History of the Future” Rethinking History 18.1(March 2014), 10–27

“The Prophecy of Edmund Ruffin: Anticipating the Future of Civil War History,” Zachary Dresser and Benjamin Wright, eds., Apocalypse and the Millennium: Providential Religion and the Era of the American Civil War (Louisiana State University Press, 2013), 13–30

“Prophecies of Civil War Soldiers: A History of the Future,” Jimmy L. Bryan, Jr., ed., The Martial Imagination: Cultural Aspects of American Warfare (Texas A&M University Press, 2013), 183–200

“The Liars at the Jung Hotel” Storytelling, History, and the Postmodern South (Louisiana State University Press, 2013), 1–11

“Rebels in War and Peace: Their Ethos and Its Impact” in Paul A. Cimbala and Randall M. Miller, eds., The Great Task Remaining before Us: Reconstruction as America’s Continuing Civil War (Fordham University Press, 2010), 154–72

“Battling Stereotypes: A Taxonomy of Common Soldiers in Civil War History” History Compass 6 (2008): 1407–25

“A Brothers’ War? Exploring Confederate Perceptions of the Enemy” Aaron Sheehan-Dean, ed., The View from the Ground: The Experiences of Civil War Soldiers (University Press of Kentucky, 2007), 67–90.

“The Grape Vine Telegraph: Rumors and Confederate Persistence.” Journal of Southern History 72 (November 2006), 753–88