To create a public history prize is an act of advocacy and of self-assertion. It signals the value and the scale of the activity being celebrated. There has to be enough of it going on and enough people...
What happens if we flip the model and, rather than just creating new offerings labelled Public History’ we also look for opportunities to bring its critical eye to the ‘mainstream’ curriculum?
The post Tooling Up: Public History in the University Curriculum appeared first on Public History Weekly.
The ‘tyranny of relevance’ is a convenient and popular target for academic historians. Mention the ‘r’ word with a raised eyebrow during a conference coffee break, or condemn instrumentalist research policy at a committee meeting and you are likely to receive murmurs of sympathy. We have allowed an unstable and stormy climate in higher education to cloud our judgement, implicating notions of relevance, application and public engagement with a Dark Side of neoliberal politics in caricature. If history is to thrive as a discipline, we need to reclaim relevance for the whole field – and public history can lead the Alliance.
Relevance and Rigour
It is tempting to see relevance only as a product of the increasing pressure from governments and funding bodies for scholars to prioritise and account for the value of their research to society. An unfortunate corollary of this view is the placing of ‘relevance’ and ‘rigour’ into a binary relationship.