75th SMH Conference

I’m currently at the 75th Society for Military History conference out in Ogden Utah, which is pretty interesting thus far. Society for Military History is the big, official group of military historians, and I’m here because of my position at Norwich University. Dr. Ehrman, our program director and Dr. Broom, out assistant program director (and incidentally, my instructor for Seminar 1) are both presenting something on the nature of online graduate schools, which is later on today.
What was really cool was that I got to meet a number of instructors in the various programs that I administrate:
Dr. John Broom, Dr. Dennis Showalter, Dr. Mike Wadyko, Dr. Kevin McCraine, Dr. Joyce Sampson, Dr. John House, Dr. Sanders Marble, Dr. Antulio Echevarria, Dr. Kelly Devries, Dr. Doug Peifer, Dr. John Kuen, Dr. John Votaw and a couple others. Really great to meet them all.

I’ve attended a couple of panels already, some very interesting:

Military Support to Civil Authority: From Pax Britannica to Hurricane Katrina
This was an interesting one, about the ways that the US military has approached disaster relief, through three examples – The first paper was called In Support of the Civil Power, by John Beeler, University of Alabama. This looked at how the British navy was involved with non-military roles and how they focused on police actions, such as anti-piracy, relief for Ireland and a bunch of other things.
The second paper was on the 1906 Earthquake in San Fransisco (ironically 102 years to the day): In Support of Civil Power, by Charles Bylar, Carroll College. This one discussed several legal issues that arose – after the earthquake, a local military commander ordered his troops into the city and placed them under command of the mayor, to help evacuate people, prevent looting and rioting. This was a completely illegal action, and it’s thought that a number of people died as a result of this, although there was little public outcry at the time.
The last paper was entitled The Air National Guard’s Response to Hurricane Katrina by David Anderson, Air National Guard History Office, which focused on how the Air National guard was able to supply and evacuate hurricane victims, which was not as interesting to me.

The second panel that I attended was called Nationalism and British Military History, 1850s to 1914, which I found really fascinating. The three panelists were a lot younger, and there was a different dynamic to the presentations.
The first paper was Moral Militarism in Victorian and Edwardian Britain by Stephen Shapiro, Ohio State University, which looked at volunteer militant forces and the fear of French invasions of England, and a number of trends associated with that. This one was interesting, as it highlighted some interesting aspects to the way the British public and the army interacted, or didn’t interact.
The second was a paper by Kate Epstein, called Torpedo Development in Victorian Britain, which seemed a little scattered, but mainly looked at political developments and the development of the British Military during this era. The last paper was Nation, Identity and Conflict: British Popular conceptions of War and Martial Service in the Summer of 1914 – this one had a lot to do with the upcoming first World War, and a fairly dramatic public shift in opinion of military service from it being the lowest occupation to a highly thought of one.

I’m looking to hit a couple others later on today after Lunch, What Good is an Educational Philosophy if it doesn’t get your heart racing, about online graduate studies, and Nothing but Blood and Slaughter: The Southern Tory/Whig conflict in the American Revolution. There’s also a banquet later on that I’ll be at.

One of the highlights thus far was meeting up with members of the Alpine Garrison for dinner last night, which was an absolute blast – got to meet several people, including the LCO, Mark Fordam, which was neat. I’ll probably talk about that on my trooper blog at some point.

Also, there’s a ton of booksellers here, and they’ve really discounted their books. I’ve gotten the following:

The Big Red One, by James Scott Wheeler, about the 1st Infantry Division from WWI through Desert Storm.
Western Warfare 1775-1882, by Jeremy Black – this and the next are about military theory in the West (Europe and US)
Warfare in the Western World 1882-1975 by Jeremy Black (Both by him signed)
The Great Uprising in India 1857-58, by Rosie Llewllyn-Jones
Gathering at the Golden Gate: Mobilizing for War in the Philippines, 1898, Stephen D. Coats

More Later…

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