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19 September 2002

Touring the American South in Sprinter Vans

Heidelberg students on the road in the American South, courtesy of DaimlerChrysler — Excursion headed by Prof. Junker, Curt Engelhorn professor of American history

DaimlerChrysler has made two Sprinter vans available for Heidelberg students to undertake a 14-day excursion through the South of the United States. Headed by Prof. Dr. Detlef Junker, Curt Engelhorn professor of American history at the University of Heidelberg's Department of History, the 20-strong group will be covering a total of 2,500 miles between 18 September and 3 October, from Atlanta to Nashville, Memphis, Oxford (Miss.), Vicksburg, Natchez, New Orleans, Montgomery, Tuskegee, Savannah, Charleston, Columbia and Athens, and then back to Atlanta.

Thanks to the versatility and comfort of the 10-seater DaimlerChrysler vans, the group will be able to complete a marathon stint. The academic leitmotif of the journey is: "The Mind of the South: Conflict, Commerce and Constructions Since 1861". The subjects studied by the participants range from history, political science and geography to English, American studies, philosophy and economics. They were prepared for the excursion in two seminars on the American Civil War (Prof. Junker) and the New South (Dr. Wilfried Mausbach).

The idea of the excursion is to gain insight into the history and mentality of the South. The participants will be visiting important historical sites and examining on the spot the memorial culture and historical policy of the South. In addition, they will be meeting American students and professors at a variety of universities (Goethe Institute of Atlanta, Vanderbilt University, U.S. Civil War Center of Louisiana State University, University of New Orleans, Tuskegee University, University of Georgia at Athens) and discussing these points with them.

A further aim of the undertaking is to enhance the cultural competence of German students in connection with the South, a region of the United States that is gaining ever greater economic, political and cultural significance. For German students the South of the United States has a special attraction. While the public view is still frequently marked by clichés deriving from such monumental epics as Gone with the Wind, the South has a great deal more to offer than old-world romanticism and Coca-Cola.

Today, excursions to the United States are well beyond the financial means of the average German student. While all the participants make a contribution to the expenses, this sprint through the American South would not have been possible without the generous support of DaimlerChrysler, the Schurman American History Society at the University of Heidelberg, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the Vanderbilt University and the University of Heidelberg.

Please address any inquiries to:
Office of Prof. Dr. Detlef Junker,
Claudia Müller, M.A. / Christine Rösch, M.A.,
Department of History,
University of Heidelberg,
Schurman Library of American History
phone: 06221/542477, fax: 542449

For more general questions (journalists):
Dr. Michael Schwarz
Press Officer of the University of Heidelberg
phone: 06221/542310, fax: 54317

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Updated: 29.09.2002


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