CRN:22645 -- Public Hist in 21st Cent -- You are among the next generation of historians and this class will focus on the complex challenges confronting the field and our increasingly significant role in society as educators, advocates, and preservationists. Who is history for? How is it used and who uses it? Who does it benefit, and how is it used to marginalize and oppress? You are also emerging as scholars during a period of significant technological advancement. New evidence of past cultures, new modes of analysis, and our own evolving perspectives on the present and the past are influencing how we “do” history and how we communicate that history to the public. In this class you will be exposed to, and we will debate the effectiveness of, these technologies and how they approach and disseminate their research. What do they tell us? How do they inform our own practice? Is the data we compile new, or is this just a different way of seeing a past we think we know all too well?
The underlying themes connecting each class are threefold. First, historians are not only responsible for developing many of these technologies, but their implementation as well. What they are writing is influencing how we understand the past and in ways that we are only beginning to understand. It is crucial to discuss the methodologies employed and the appropriateness of their use as you consider how to enter the field. Second, the challenges confronting public historians everyday require an honest critique of our current practices and creative thinking from diverse voices to identify improvements. Our historic sites, our writi