Tag Archive


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

NCPH 2016 workshop: Putting theory into practice: Making your case for promotion and tenure

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Pearls Before Swine comic courtesy of Stephan Pastis

Pearls Before Swine comic courtesy of Stephan Pastis


Are you a public historian on the tenure track? Do you sit on a tenure and promotion committee, or are you asked to write letters in support of T&P candidates? Do you find yourself working to explain the scholarly nature of public history scholarship to a broader academic audience? Read More

A Confederate on campus: The case of MTSU's Forrest Hall

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"Forrest plaque on the MTSU Keathly University Center, from Sidelines campus newspaper, March 1968."

Forrest plaque on the MTSU Keathly University Center.  Photo credit:  Sidelines campus newspaper, March 1968

Editor’s note: This post continues our series addressing recent debates over Confederate memory and symbolism in the wake of the shooting of nine parishioners at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston, South Carolina.  Read More

Genealogy from below

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Editor’s note: In “On Genealogy,” a revision of the plenary address delivered in October 2014 at the International Federation for Public History’s conference in Amsterdam, Jerome de Groot argues that widespread popular interest in genealogy, and the availability of mass amounts of information online, challenge established historiography and public history practice. Read More

Remembering David Kyvig

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David Kyvig. Image source: The Public Historian

David Kyvig. Photo credit: The Public Historian

He was tall–but not intimidating.

He was funny–sometimes in the “bring down the house” style; sometimes just for chuckles.

He was balding–and joked about it.

He was a hard worker–which prompted others to match the pace. Read More

Considering oral history as scholarship: Comments welcome


By Selena Wilke.  Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

By Selena Wilke. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

In 2007, a professor at a Texas university began a thread on H-Oralhist, the oral history listserv.  “I am up for tenure next fall,” she wrote, “and am struggling to prove to my dean that the gathering, transcribing, editing and archiving of oral history is ‘scholarship.’ I am regularly applauded for the fact that I have begun an oral history program, trained forty undergraduate and graduate students in oral history methodology, gathered and processed over eighty-five interviews (in the past three years), and reconnected dozens of former students with our university (I began a ‘former student’ oral history project). Read More

Developing your synthetic powers

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Photo credit: Suzanne Fischer.

Photo credit: Suzanne Fischer

Doing public history, in all its diverse manifestations, requires certain specialized habits of mind. One of the most vital but also the most mysterious is synthesis.

When I begin work on an exhibition, such as the one I’ve been developing for the past two years, I read as many books and talk to as many people as I can, and then–I wait. Read More