Friday, January 29, 2010

Howard Zinn, 1922-2010

An obituary from the Times and an essay by Michael Honey on Zinn's "disputed" legacy to the history profession. Honey champions Zinn's dedication to activism and his ability to speak to and resonate with mass audiences:

"How many of us through our writings have captured the imagination of masses of people who did not go on to get post-graduate history degrees and inspired them to become active citizens? How many of us could draw a thousand people to a historical lecture that shed light on the issues of the day? How many of us popularized the idea that organized people can really make a difference? And how many of us actually put our lives on the line? "

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Recent Points of Interest

Suzanne Fischer is updating regularly on the state Haiti's cultural heritage in the aftermath of the earthquake. There are opportunities here for volunteer professionals from the public history world.

In last month's NCPH newsletter, Briann Greenfield of Central Connecticut State University lobbied for undergraduate public history courses to include advocacy training. Among other guidelines, he pointed to the need for a deeper understanding of the funding structure of history programming as well as for training in the ability to communicate with funding bodies effectively. No doubt that creating a rising generation of savvy public historians is critical, especially in These Financial Times. A different perspective from the arts world - see here for a brief article from ArtsJournal on a recent report by the FineArtsFund of Cincinnati. Lack of funding for arts programming isn't due to the current economic environment or lack of effective advocates, according to findings, but to a misunderstanding of the attitudes of consuming audiences.

And, for a journalist's take on battlefield preservation, see here for a recent article by Ta-Nehisi Coates of The Atlantic on his foray among the Civil War battlefields of Virginia. Coates has blogged at greater length on the legacy of the war and on black confederates.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Why another public history blog?

In a sea of blogs, many of which are dedicated to public history and the historical profession, why launch another one? Here are a few reasons that compelled us to go ahead with our vision:

  • To be a part of, and help to build, the digital public history community.
  • To curate a site dedicated to the introduction of projects near and far.
  • To connect those involved in public history projects.
  • To think about and promote public history outside the traditional boundaries.

We envision having guest bloggers weigh in on specific issues affecting public history creators and consumers, offering informal interviews with practitioners, artists, and scholars, as well as highlighting digital media such as online exhibits, blogs, and websites. We want to be as broad-minded in our approach to what constitutes public history and want to be creative in our survey of the PH landscape.