Though many people visualize Virginia or Georgia when they think of famous Civil War battles, Dr. Jeremy Neely, history instructor at Missouri State University, wants to shed light on the significance of Missouri during the last war on American soil. His new Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), Missouri’s Civil War, begins Oct. 19. Neely will address military, political and social history, and focus on Missouri due to the number of engagements that took place within the state. Missouri is a particularly interesting study, noted Neely, because of the division in the state.
“I use Missouri as a window into the larger questions of loyalty, freedom and union that the war was about,” said Neely. “What’s most notable about Missouri is the guerrilla violence that happened here because it was literally neighbor against neighbor. It becomes incredibly brutal. I find it endlessly fascinating because of the kinds of tension and complexity that brings.”
The course runs for eight weeks and participants can enroll at any time during that period. Course material will open one week at a time, but will not close until the class is completed. All course materials are completed online.
How does the course work?
- Anyone can register. You don’t need to be a registered Missouri State student.
- Course is offered free of charge.
- Course content is available online.
- No course credit is offered for completion, but there is a certificate for participation.
- Participants can enroll in the course at any point during the eight weeks.
For more information, contact Lacey Geiger, open-course coordinator, at (417) 836-8803.
Tracing the transformation from abolitionist to slaveholder
Neely, who has researched this epic era since his graduate school days, also recently published “A Pure Son of Missouri: Freeman Barrows at the Crossroads of the Slaveholding Frontier” in the Missouri Historical Review. The article focuses on Barrows, who shifts from a staunch antislavery background in the 1830s to a slaveholder himself in the 1850s.
Freeman Barrows is not a highlight in the new MOOC, noted Neely, since he passed away immediately before the war began.