November 2018 Public Historian Editor’s Corner
16 January 2019 – James F. Brooks
Editor’s note: We publish “The Public Historian” editor James F. Brooks’s introduction to the November 2018 issue of TPH here. This is adapted from the print edition. The entire issue is available online to National Council on Public History members and to others with subscription access.
To wrap our fortieth year, we’re pleased to present an entirely international issue, one that speaks to the vitality of the field. It begins with a roundtable coordinated by Jacqueline Nießer and Juliane Tomann, “Public and Applied History in International Context,” which examines the evolution of the meanings of “applied” and “public” histories, and the distinction between them, in the German context. Contributing commentary and international context to this discussion are public historians from across the globe, including Catalina Muñoz, Steven Lubar, Jennifer Dickey, Thomas Cauvin, Ricardo Santhiago, Cord Arendes, and Alix Green. A featured research article is Nadav G. Molchadsky’s inquiry into public “memories” of state-sanctioned kidnapping of children shortly after the establishment of Israel in 1948. Molchadsky follows nearly three decades of investigative commissions that dismissed these memories as false and invalid. The public, however, remains fascinated and unconvinced, the “affair” therefore serving to undermine confidence in official historical narratives more broadly. Two Reports from the Field—Jonathan Dekel-Chen’s investigation of content creation at the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center in Moscow, and Karin Pütt’s meditation on the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ attempt to record and preserve Syria’s endangered cultural resources as civil war erupted in 2013—round out our international coverage.
~ James F. Brooks is editor of The Public Historian and professor of history and anthropology at the University of California, Santa Barbara.