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When the opportunity of spending a week studying the intricacies of the Gilded Age
presented itself, Dr. Shannon Harris, associate professor of History and chair of
the Department of History Political Science for King University, was eager to begin
the application process.
After a rigorous selection process, Harris was among an elite group chosen to participate
in The Gilded Age seminar held this past summer at Stanford University in California.
The seminar was made possible through the generous support of the Andrew W. Mellon
Foundation and co-sponsored by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History and
The Council of Independent Colleges, of which King University is a member.
Leading the seminar was Pulitzer Prize-nominated historian Richard White. White, an
expert on the Gilded Age, is a Margaret Byrne Professor of American History at Stanford
University. The Gilded Age is a time in American history that begins with the era
of Reconstruction after the end of the Civil War and lasted through the 1890s. The
Gilded Age was coined after a book of the same name authored by Mark Twain and Charles
Most historians typically define the Gilded Age as having occurred from 1877 through
the 1890s. It is perceived as a time of the rise of the modern corporation when the
standard of living rose for many Americans, but with growth also came hardship for
others, including immigrants and blue collar workers. It was also a time when railroads
first connected the country bringing about a more modern America and an economic depression.
Over the course of the seminar, White spent time reinvestigating and redefining the
era of the Gilded Age with help from seminar participants.
White is currently writing a book for the Oxford series of American History. The
Gilded Age seminar was a post-graduate level seminar in which White not only instructed
the attendees on the era but also collaborated with them for input on his book.
“This was an opportunity to have synergy with a group of like-minded scholars,” said
Harris. “The people who attended the seminar were, for the most part, relevant and
interesting scholars who were pleased to have a week to engage in intellectual matters,
pursue their love of history, and become better acquainted with fellow historians.
It was a unique and exceptional opportunity and I was pleased to represent King University
and be a part of a fellowship of scholars.”
King University is a Presbyterian, master's-level comprehensive university. Founded in 1867 as King
College, the University offers more than 90 majors, minors, pre-professional degrees
and concentrations in fields such as business, nursing, law, medical and health sciences,
pharmacy, education, and humanities. Graduate programs are offered in business administration,
education, and nursing. A number of research, off-campus learning opportunities,
and travel destinations are also available. King University is a NCAA Division II
and a Conference Carolinas member with 25 varsity athletic teams. For more information
about King University, visit www.king.edu. King University does not discriminate against academically qualified students of
any race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, or disability. King University
is certified by SCHEV to operate locations in Virginia. For more information, contact
the King University office at Southwest Virginia Community College, 309 College Road,
Richlands, VA 24641.