In April 2011, the International Writing Program launched " Writers in Motion", a study tour of the Mid-Atlantic and the American South, where eight international writers are exploring the theme of "Fall and Recovery." The writers are traveling to Gettysburg (April 3-5), Baltimore (April 5-6), New Orleans (April 6-8), the Gulf Coast (Morgan City, the Achafalaya Basin, Lafayette, April 8-11), Birmingham, AL (April 11-12) and Washington, D.C. (April 13-15) to examine some of the challenges presented by historical crises and upheavals, both natural and social.

Monday, April 4, 2011


Tour of the Battlefield

The writers listen as Peter Carmichael discusses how soldiers fought side by side. Were they fighting as bonded brothers or was this just a great tactic of battle?


If so many civil-war buffs are reenacting the scenes from this war, has America fully recovered from this historical event? Is our continuing struggle with race relations tied to the nostalgia of this war?


  1. There are at least two doctrines of memory about the Civil War in the US. One asserts that it was fought in order to end slavery. The other claims it was a war of aggression by the Northern States (Union) against the South (Confederacy). The official memorialization is often a sentimentalized version about civil strife and eventual reconciliation between white brothers, while it often does not include the African American perspective.

    (Memory is informed by history books, but in this country, it is more powerfully shaped by popular culture.)

    How does memorialization distort history in your country?

  2. Popular culture is also a powerful force in the Philippines, much more so than history. Although I'm not sure if memorialization actually happens in my country, because we as a nation have a very short memory -- we forget very easily. What gets handed down through the oral tradition tends to be treated with more credence, even though the oral tradition is notorious for distorting facts.