Stephen A. Douglas Symposium – Sat. April 26, 2014


Visualizing the American Past: Remembering Stephen A. Douglas in the Age of Ken Burns

A Symposium at Saint Xavier University
Chicago, Illinois
April 26, 2014

In commemoration of the bicentennial of the birth of Illinois Senator Stephen A. Douglas on April 23, 1813, Saint Xavier University and the Stephen A. Douglas Association will hold a one-day public symposium on April 26, 2014 to assess Douglas’ historical legacy and portrayals of it.

The symposium will bring together a talented roster of middle school and high school teachers, professional historians, historical reenactors, community historians and filmmakers in four plenary sessions and a keynote address, and will use scholarship, community outreach, performance and film to share diverse perspectives of Douglas with the broader public.

One session will premiere Stephen A. Douglas and the Fate of American Democracy, a 50-minute film directed and produced by Saint Xavier Associate Professor of History Graham A. Peck, who made it with assistance from the university’s students and staff, and Associate Professor of Art Nathan Peck. The film features distinguished historians from University College London, Purdue University, Loyola University Chicago, University of Illinois Chicago, and Saint Xavier University; voiceovers of Stephen A. Douglas and Abraham Lincoln by leading historical reenactors; and images of Douglas’ autograph letters and other unique artifacts from the Stephen A. Douglas Papers at the University of Chicago Special Collections Research Center.

The keynote will feature WTTW filmmaker Dan Andries, who will explore the unique opportunities and challenges of making TV from history. Attendees will have the opportunity of registering for an optional Q&A dinner with Dan Andries that will follow his keynote address.

Cost, Registration and CPDUs

The symposium registration fee, including lunch, is $40. The optional Q&A dinner with Dan Andries is an additional $35. The campus is an accessible site. Registration ends April 24, 2014. Register now.

Saint Xavier University is an approved provider of CPDUs through the Illinois State Board of Education. Each registrant will earn up to 6 CPDU hours. Please note that CPDUs cannot be earned by teachers who stream the conference.

Live streaming of the conference for those unable to attend in person is $20, but please note that the optional Q&A dinner will not be streamed.

Social Media

Throughout the symposium and film showing, use #sxudouglas to share your thoughts!


Presented by Saint Xavier University and the Stephen A. Douglas Association.

Sponsored by Saint Xavier’s College of Arts and Sciences, Department of History and Political Science, Department of Art and Design, School of Education and Center for Instructional Design and Technology.


For more information, please contact Graham Peck at