Author Archive

Modupe Labode

Does it count? Promotion, tenure, and evaluation of public history scholarship

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“The road to tenure.” Photo credit: 10thLife. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Whenever public historians first began working in academic units, it is likely that soon after, their peers questioned whether public history scholarship—exhibitions, class projects, and reports—counted toward tenure. “Count” is academic shorthand for work that is considered to be scholarship or research. Read More

Fail better? Failure and public history

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black and white arrowsI’ve been thinking about failure and public history. Failure—and mistakes more generally—aren’t concepts we like to consider. The word is intertwined with feelings of shame and humiliation, private emotions which are the antithesis of the public nature of public history. Many people’s impulse is to hide failure or “spin” it, the clichéd strategy of “making lemons out of lemonade.” I’ve been considering failure recently, because a few projects I’ve either been directly involved with or closely observed have gone in directions drastically different from the original plans. Read More