Center for the Study of War and Memory Podcast Debuts

Posted on May 27, 2016
Alice Jackson


To honor Memorial Day, the Center for the Study of War and Memory at the University of South Alabama has launched an innovative and ambitious podcast series, available on its website, with the author of the recently released book, “The Battle over Peleliu.”

“Memorial Day is a good time for us to launch this because it is a day of collective memories about the wars of the past with people thinking about their personal relationship to people who fought,” said Dr. Susan McCready, co-director of the Center and professor of French language and literature. “This project came about because we wanted to reach a more general audience with the Center’s purpose and its work. We wanted to present a more meaningful program to people outside the University.”  

Founded in 2012, the Center for the Study of War and Memory is the only academic center in the world focused specifically on the phenomenon of collective memory in relation to armed conflict. It brings together an interdisciplinary team of scholars committed to advancing the study of war remembrance in all its forms, including public memorials, civic rituals, works of literature and film, television programs, and websites. The Center hosts speakers and conferences, offers online scholarly materials, and serves as a resource on all matters related to war commemoration.

“The Battle over Peleliu,” is the first in a new series of books from the University of Alabama Press with Dr. Steve Trout, co-director of the Center for the Study of War and Memory and chair of English, as series editor.

“My job as editor of the series is to scout out worthy projects, by networking with scholars in this interdisciplinary field, and to work closely with the press editor to see that manuscripts are reviewed by appropriate experts,” Trout said. “The kind of work that Dr. McCready has done as producer of the new podcast series is one of the reasons why the University of Alabama Press was so keen to partner with the Center for the Study of War and Memory on this project.”

Frye Gaillard, South’s writer-in-residence, narrates the program and interviews author Stephen C. Murray, providing listeners with background and behind-the-scenes insight into the book. Murray, who earned a doctorate in anthropology from the University of California, Santa Barbara, operates a historic preservation consulting firm, Murray & Murray Associates, in Goleta, Calif. The podcast was recorded at Dogwood Studios in Mobile. Ray Norman of Dogwood created the sound design, edited the program and wrote original music for it.

The Japanese empire annexed the archipelago of Palau in 1914, and the airbase built on Peleliu Island became a target for attack by the United States in World War II. “The Battle over Peleliu” offers an ethnographic study of how Palau and Peleliu were transformed by the warring powers and explores how their conflict is remembered differently by the three peoples who shared that experience. Murray uses oral histories from Peleliu’s elders to reconstruct the island’s prewar way of life, offering a fascination explanation of the role of land and place in island culture.

McCready said the Center plans to release its next podcast near Veterans Day in November.

To listen to the introductory podcast, go to the Center's website or click on link at the top of this page.  

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