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The Assault on the Capitol in Historical Perspective

The assault on the Capitol on January 6 shocked Americans and plunged the nation into a new political crisis. Viewed in historical terms, however, this event appears less unprecedented or exceptional. In this virtual conversation presented by the Department of History and the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences at West Virginia University, scholars explore the ways in which recent events connect to longer trajectories of political violence, white supremacy and threats to democracy, both at home and abroad. The 90-minute program will include presentations by each expert followed by Q&A.



Joshua Arthurs
Associate Professor and Associate Chair of History

Tiffany Mitchell Patterson
Assistant Professor of Secondary Social Studies

Jason Phillips
Eberly Family Professor of Civil War Studies

Jessica Wilkerson
Robbins Chair and Associate Professor of History

Maria del Guadalupe Davidson
Associate Dean for Social Justice, Faculty Development and Innovation
Woodburn Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies

Introduction by Dean Gregory Dunaway , Eberly College of Arts and Sciences


Joshua Arthurs speaking into a microphone

Joshua Arthurs, PhD, is an associate professor and the associate chair of the Department of History at West Virginia University. His areas of expertise include the cultural, social and intellectual history of twentieth-century Italy and Europe, with a focus on the politics of memory, monuments and the historical disciplines; fascism and the far right; ideologies of race, empire and the classical tradition; and everyday life in wartime and under dictatorship. He is the author of "Excavating Modernity: The Roman Past in Fascist Italy" (Cornell University Press, 2012) and co-editor of the volume "Outside the State? The Politics of Everyday Life in Fascist Italy" (Palgrave MacMillan, 2017). His current book project, “Forty-Five Days: Emotion, Experience and Memory after Mussolini,” in preparation for Oxford University Press, examines popular responses to the collapse of the Fascist regime in 1943.

Tiffany Mitchell Patterson smiling

Tiffany Mitchell Patterson, PhD, is an assistant professor of secondary social studies at West Virginia University in the Department of Curriculum & Instruction/Literacy Studies. Prior to WVU, she taught middle school social studies for 10 years in Washington, D.C., and Arlington, Virginia. Mitchell Patterson earned her doctorate in multilingual/multicultural education and education policy from George Mason University. Her research interests include racial and social justice in education, education activism, critical civic education, and teaching Black and underrepresented narratives in social studies. Advocacy, activism, intersectionality and anti-racist/bias education lie at the core of her research and teacher practice. Education is her revolution.

Jason Phillips smiling in Woodburn Hall

Jason Phillips, PhD, is the Eberly Professor of Civil War Studies in the Department of History at West Virginia University. Phillips researches the future in nineteenth-century America. His book, "Looming Civil War: How Nineteenth-Century Americans Imagined the Future" (Oxford University Press, 2018), inverts memory studies to explain how war forecasts formed, spread and competed for adherents during the Civil War era. This “history of the future” interprets a host of antebellum and wartime sources, including sermons, editorials, literature, music, military records, political rhetoric, diaries and private correspondence.

Jessica Wilkerson smiling

Jessica Wilkerson, PhD, is the Robbins Chair and Associate Professor of History. Her research focuses on post-1960s social movements in the South and Appalachia. Her first book, "To Live Here, You Have to Fight: How Women Led Appalachian Movements for Social Justice" (Illinois Press, 2019), recently received the H.L. Mitchell Award for distinguished book on the southern working class from the Southern Historical Association. In the fall of 2019, she guest edited a special issue of Southern Cultures that used the centennial of the Nineteenth Amendment to reflect on women's politics in the past and present.