10-15-2009 Elaine Frantz Parsons

Center for Interpretive and Qualitative Research (CIQR -- "seeker")*

Date: Oct. 15 (Thurs.), 2009, 4:30-6:00PM, 207 College Hall, Berger Gallery, Duquesne University.

Presenter: Dr. Elaine Frantz Parsons, Dept. of History.

Bio: Elaine Frantz Parsons is an assistant professor in the History Department, whose work focuses on nineteenth-century social movements. Her first book, Manhood Lost: Drunken Men and Redeeming Women in the Nineteenth-Century United States (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002), has just been issued in paperback. She is currently writing a book arguing that representations of the reconstruction-era Klan in northern popular culture played a large role in shaping the terrorist group and enabling it to proliferate. The Journal of American History has published an article from that book project, and she has recently been awarded a Harry Frank Guggenheim research grant to support the project.

Title: "'I Was Glad that I Had, and Had Not Seen the Terrible Klan': Klan Skepticism in Reconstruction-Era Culture"

Abstract: The reconstruction-era Ku-Klux Klan, which committed thousands of acts of violence and intimidation through much of the South , was the subject of unprecedented levels public and private information-gathering. Newly professionalizing journalists, undercover detectives, federal officers, the emergent FBI and Secret Service, and even congressional subcommittees headed to the rural south, hoping to understand the nature and extent of Klan activities. Together, they produced a robust and detailed body of narrative and evidence. Yet a sizable and influential minority of Northerners persisted in making the claim that the Klan was a myth. Even the majority who generally conceded the Klan?s existence frequently used comedy and sensationalism to trivialize the Klan. This paper explores the dynamic of Klan denial and trivialization among Northerners, and discusses the extent to which it weakened federal efforts to suppress the Klan.

All interested faculty, graduate students, and other parties are invited. Refreshments will be served.

For inquiries concerning CIQR, please contact the Center Coordinator, Fred Evans, Dept. of Philosophy, evansf@duq.edu, 396-6507, or access the CIQR website, www.ciqr.duq.edu .

*The Center has been officially approved by the Dean of the College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts, The Graduate Council of the College, and the Council of Deans for the University. It is based in the College but open to members of all the schools of the University. It includes interpretive and qualitative research in both the humanities and the social and behavioral sciences (including the practice of the latter in Nursing, Education, Occupational Therapy and other professional schools).