The [Oxford] Handbook of Public History

ISBN : 9780199766024

James B. Gardner; Paula Hamilton
552 Pages
171 x 248 mm
Pub date
Oct 2017
Oxford Handbooks
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The Oxford Handbook of Public History introduces the major debates within public history; the methods and sources that comprise a public historian's tool kit; and exemplary examples of practice. It views public history as a dynamic process combining historical research and a wide range of work with and for the public, informed by a conceptual context. The editors acknowledge the imprecision bedeviling attempts to define public history, and use this book as an opportunity to shape the field by taking a deliberately broad view. They include professional historians who work outside the academy in a range of institutions and sites, and those who are politically committed to communicating history to the wide range of audiences. This volume provides the information and inspiration needed by a practitioner to succeed in the wide range of workplaces that characterizes public history today, for university teachers of public history to assist their students, and for working public historians to keep up to date with recent research. This handbook locates public history as a professional practice within an intellectual framework that is increasingly transnational, technological, and democratic. While the nation state remains the primary means of identification, increased mobility and the digital revolution have occasioned a much broader outlook and awareness of the world beyond national borders. It addresses squarely the tech-savvy, media-literate citizens of the world, the"digital natives" of the twenty-first century, in a way that recognizes the revolution in shared authority that has swept museum work, oral history, and much of public history practice. This volume also provides both currently practicing historians and those entering the field a map for understanding the historical landscape of the future: not just to the historiographical debates of the academy but also the boom in commemoration and history outside the academy evident in many countries since the 1990s, which now constitutes the historical culture in each country. Public historians need to understand both contexts, and to negotiate their implications for questions of historical authority and the public historian's work. The boom in popular history is characterized by a significant increase in both making and consuming history in a range of historical activities such as genealogy, family history, and popular collecting; cultural tourism, historic sites, and memorial museums; increased memorialization, both formal and informal, from roadside memorials to state funded shrines and memorial Internet sites; increased publication of historical novels, biographies, and movies and TV series set in the past. Much of this, as well as a vast array of new community cultural projects, has been facilitated by the digital technologies that have increased the accessibility of historical information, the democratization of practice, and the demand for sharing authority.


James B. Gardner and Paula Hamilton: Introduction

Part I: The Changing Public History Landscape
1 Serge Noiret and Thomas Cauvin: Internationalizing Public History
2 Sharon M. Leon: Complexity and Collaboration: Doing Public History in Digital Environments

Part II: Doing Public History
3 Barbara Franco: Decentralizing Culture: Public History and Communities
4 Jocelyn Dodd, Ceri Jones, and Richard Sandell: Trading Zones: Collaborative Ventures in Disability History
5 Kees Ribbens: Popular Understandings of the Past: Interpreting History through Graphic Novels
6 Brian W. Martin: The Business of History: Customers, Professionals, and Money

Part III: Pushing the Boundaries of Public History
7 Liz Sevcenko: Public Histories for Human Rights: Sites of Conscience and the Guantanamo Public Memory Project
8 Trudy Huskamp Peterson: Archives for Justice, Archives of Justice
9 Kevin P. Murphy, Jennifer L. Pierce, and Alex Urquhart: Sexuality and the Cities: Interdisciplinarity and the Politics of Queer Public History
10 Jeffrey K. Stine: Public History and the Environment
11 T. Allan Comp: From Environmental Liability to Community Asset: Public History, Communities, and Environmental Reclamation
12 Cathy Stanton: Between Pastness and Presentism: Public History and Local Food Activism

Part IV: Public History and the State
13 Lisa Singleton: Historians and Public History in the UN System
14 Arnita Jones: Good Enough for Government Work
15 Donald A. Ritchie: Shaping Institutional Memory: Public History on Capitol Hill
16 Jonathan Sweet and Fengqi Qian: History, Heritage, and the Representation of Ethnic Diversity: Cultural Tourism in China
17 Jannelle Warren-Findley: Public History, Cultural Institutions, and National Identity: Dialogues about Difference

Part V: Narrative and Voice in Public History
18 Benjamin Filene: History Museums and Identity: Finding Them, Me, and Us in the Gallery
19 Cristina Lleras: National Museums, National Narratives, and Identity Politics
20 Paul Williams: The Personalization of Loss in Memorial Museums
21 Graham Smith and Anna Green: The Magna Carta: 800 Years of Public History
22 Hilda Kean: Public History as a Social Form of Knowledge
23 Steven High: Brownfield Public History: Arts and Heritage in the Aftermath of Deindustrialization

Part VI: Difficult Public History
24 Udo Gosswald: Politics and Memory: How Germans Face their Past
25 Boris Wastiau: The Legacy of Collecting: Colonial Collecting in the Belgian Congo and the Duty of Unveiling Provenance
26 Bayo Holsey: Slavery Tourism: Representing a Difficult History in Ghana
27 Socheata Poeuv: How You Understand Your Story: The Survival Story within Cambodian American Genocide Communities
28 Paul Ashton, Kresno Brahmantyo and Jaya Keaney: In the Service of the State: Monuments and Memorials in Indonesia


About the author: 

James B. Gardner has held senior management positions at the National Archives (US), the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, the American Historical Association, and the American Association for State and Local History. He has served as president of the National Council on Public History, chair of the Nominating Board of the Organization of American Historians, on the AASLH Council, and on the editorial boards of The Public Historian and the AAM Press.; Paula Hamilton is adjunct Professor of History at the University of Technology, Sydney. She was involved in setting up the public history program there which ran between 1989-2005 and was co-director of the Australian Centre for Public History until 2013 and co-editor of Public History Review. Paula has collaborated in a range of historical projects, including one assessing the significance of an oral history collection at the NSW state library; but she also has worked with community groups, museums, heritage agencies and trade unions.

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