Tag Archive

advocacy

Historical thinking and the place of history in public policy development

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Henk Visch, “Man with Two Hats,” National Canadian Liberation monument, Apeldoorn, the Netherlands. Photo credit: Brbbl

For the past seventeen years, I have worn two hats every day that I’ve gone to work. The first one is my historian hat, as I’m the staff historian for the Canadian department of Indigenous and Northern Affairs where I research the history of the institution, prepare materials for public consumption and answer questions relating to the 260-year history of Canada’s policies towards Indigenous peoples. Read More

How historians work

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“History”  Photo credit Blacren

Historians often remark that we need to do a better job of letting others in on the ways we explore and understand the past. (That was the impetus for a thought-provoking series from The Public Historian and [email protected] a couple of years ago.) In a time when “alternate facts,” outright fabrications, and diametrically opposed versions of reality shape the American political landscape as perhaps seldom before, that task seems all the more urgent. Read More

A response to the election

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March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, August 28, 1963. Photo credit: National Archives.

March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, August 28, 1963. Photo credit: National Archives.

How should public historians respond to the new reality of the incoming political leadership in the United States? Representative democracy in the United States has survived the bitter partisanship of the Early Republic, the Civil War, corruption and scandals, the rise of international fascism, and the paroxysms of protest against the Vietnam War, so it is likely to endure. Read More

Mass collaboration and historical synthesis in “The American Yawp”

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American Yawp home page. Screenshot courtesy Joseph Locke

“The American Yawp” home page. Screenshot courtesy Joseph Locke

The American Yawp, the profession’s first multi-authored open textbook, contains thirty chapters and almost 300,000 words. It covers everything from indigenous creation stories to Instagram. How, with historical input accelerating and the scope of scholarship expanding, could any individual or small group of historians hope to capture the breadth of American history and to do so as expansively as a textbook demands? Read More

Public history and public activism at work: Washington’s McMillan Sand Filtration Site

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04July-TweetOn July 4, about 60 people attended a party thrown by Washington, DC activists trying to save a historic water filtration plant. The event was held in a row house in the city’s gentrifying Bloomingdale neighborhood, which I wrote about in a recent [email protected] post. Read More

NCPH Book Award: Reflections from Susan Ferentinos

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Interpreting LGBT History at Museums and Historic Sites (Rowman & Littlefield) Cover shot courtesy the author

Interpreting LGBT History at Museums and Historic Sites (Rowman & Littlefield) Cover.

I decided to become a professional historian in a campground in Ohio in the summer of 1994. I was spending the day lounging at my campsite, reading About Time: Exploring the Gay Past, by Martin Duberman, when his essay “’Writhing Bedfellows’ in Antebellum South Carolina: Historical Interpretation and the Politics of Evidence” got me so fired up that I decided it was time to go out and do what I could to bring the past to the people. Read More