‘Participation’ is something of a contemporary buzzword. Attuning oneself as closely as possible to the interests and needs of the general public is considered the golden path to success.
A resolution adopted by venerable Association of German Historians (VHD) General Assembly with a large majority “on current threats to democracy” attracted considerable attention. On the much-debated VHD-resolution.
The post Historians and Politics. Quarrel Over a Current Resolution appeared first on Public History Weekly.
Paul Feyerabend’s essay “Against method” (1975) is rarely mentioned when scientists try to contextualise and justify their research projects. Or at least I have never come across...
What does a text about listening have to do with academia? As humanities scholars, are we not “brought up” to listen, to read carefully, to weigh up everything in a nuanced way...
History is made. Public history must therefore deal with the product-oriented practices of historiography. A cornerstone of a research-oriented public history could be the introduction of "history types" as an analytical concept.
History is strongly present in public, be it in historical-political debates or on the occasion of anniversaries. At the same time, it is more and more difficult for the science of history to make its voice heard.
The post History Boom versus Crisis of the Science of History appeared first on Public History Weekly.
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...
We are at a crossroads for the spread of public history and we need to consider the possibility that we could all become public historians.
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.
There is no doubt that, since its inception in the United States, public history has been increasingly professionalized internationally as an academic teaching and research discipline. At German universities, however, its status is still fuzzy. Although it is growing deeper institutional roots as more and more positions are devoted to it, it is too early to tell how far this trend will propel it toward becoming an established part of historical studies. One occasionally discussed, but not yet adequately clarified aspect in this context, is the identity of the players involved: who exactly belongs to the group of public historians?
The Birth of a Discipline?
Especially during the last five years, the U.