Department Hosts Two-Day, International Conference on US & UK Military Leadership Since 1812

Maj. Gen. Zac Stenning, OBE, addresses the conference

In October 2023, The University of Alabama’s Department of History hosted a two-day conference called “Ways of War, Ways of Peace: American and British Military Leadership from 1812.” More than twenty panelists from across the United States and the United Kingdom discussed leadership and command in the armed forces; differing national leadership approaches taken by the US and British military; lessons learned from war and peace; and what endures through history in preparation for war and when warfighting. Across these and many other topics, the conference aimed broadly to bring into dialogue those engaged in scholarly discussion of military history and leadership with those directly entrusted with the education of the next generation of modern military leaders.

Dr. Lesley Gordon, Professor of History and the Charles G. Summersell Chair of Southern History at UA, organized the conference in collaboration with Dr. Lloyd Clark, director of Research for the Centre for Army Leadership (CAL) at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst (RMAS) in the UK.

Keynote speakers included Dr. Beth Bailey, Foundation Distinguished Professor and Director of the Center for Military, War, and Society Studies at the University of Kansas; and Maj. General Zac Stenning, OBE, Director of British Army Leadership and Commandant of the RMAS.

More than ninety people registered for the conference, including University of Alabama faculty and students, as well as members of the local community and beyond. In addition to the panels and keynote addresses, the Society for Military History sponsored a reception at the historic Gorgas House on the UA campus. The conference was capped by a celebratory dinner, where Dean Joseph Messina of UA’s College of Arts & Sciences, an army veteran himself, delivered a keynote address. The panel sessions were livestreamed on the department’s YouTube channel.

In addition to the Society for Military History, other generous supporters of the conference included The University of Alabama Departments of History, American Studies, English, and Gender & Race Studies; the Charles G. Summersell Chair of Southern History; the Summersell Center for the Study of the South; McGriff Insurance Services; The University of Alabama’s Capstone International Center, Army ROTC, College of Arts & Sciences, Graduate School, Office of Academic Affairs, and Office of Research and Economic Development’s State-of-the-Art Research & Creativity Conference Grant Program; The University of Alabama Press; and an Event Sponsorship Grant from the Visit Tuscaloosa Tourism Enhancement Fund.

The event was a great success. There are preliminary plans to organize another conference in 2025 in the UK.

Return to Historically Speaking Table of Contents