On living history work

Two recent essays:

  • Protecting the rights of historic interpreters.  Aside from recreating history, the employees at Plimoth Plantation are themselves agents of social change. Citing poor working conditions and a year of failed contract negotiations, they took to the streets over the American Thanksgiving holiday to protest and gain fair treatment (http://bit.ly/2AGOx38). In an article on The Outline, writer Michael Hare expands upon the issue and reflects on his view of living history’s place in the world today. http://bit.ly/2kaJsJx
  • Lifting the curtain on living history – by Andy Urban at http://bit.ly/2juJnfE
    [h/t Public History News Update]

Some more on memorials

You might be interested in this essay by Sage Snider, who graduated from the public humanities program two years ago.

For the last part of class today we’ll be joined by the deputy director and head of education at the Bullock Texas State History Museum. We might want to discuss the question of moving memorials to museums with them.

(And remember: they’ll be talking, with Monica Martinez, about social justice projects at the Museum, at 5:30, in the lecture room.)

New book of interest: Social Writing/Social Media: Publics, Presentations, and Pedagogies


Stacy Kastner of the Writing Center thought you might be interested inthis new book.

“Social media have been (for quite some time now) part of the fabric of our lives. But as with many new technologies, it often takes a while for us to be able to step back, assess the tool’s impact, and consider what’s next. This collection offers one of the first sets of scholarly work in our field that responds to social media’s influence on both popular and extra-curricular writing as well as on scholarly communication. Too frequently, social media is dismissed as non-academic, unworthy of sustained attention by researchers. The authors featured here present compelling reasons why this oft-neglected form of writing deserves—and demands—continued academic response.

Social Writing/Social Media: Publics, Presentations, and Pedagogies makes this contribution by examining the impact of social media on three writing-related themes: publics and audiences, presentation of self and groups, and pedagogy at various levels of higher education. The contributors to this collection urge readers to pay attention to an undertheorized aspect of writing online—the acts of composing that occur specifically in social-media spaces. Organized in three sections—social media and public audiences; social media and presentation; and social media and pedagogy—it builds on previous explorations of the role of multimodality in composition studies by extending ongoing conversations that have asked readers to expand notions of literacy in the twenty-first century. By addressing the wide range of composing activities that take place in social media and the rich variety of genres, audiences, stylistic choices, and pedagogical possibilities, this collection offers an important contribution to our understanding of pedagogy and practice in social media spaces.

You can find the book at https://wac.colostate.edu/books/social.

Update to Clifford article link

Noticed that the link to the Clifford article links to file that doesn’t include the whole article. I replaced it with a better link, here.

I see that comments are still broken. I’ve asked the Brown IT people how to fix it.

And you might want to take a look at this page of Madison’s NAGPRA site. Some good general rules here we might want to talk about.

New Rules of Public Art

Here’s a link to the original posting of these rules, and more about them.

Here’s the other document I mentioned – the Walker Art Center’s “Art and Civic Engagement” plan:

If we had more time, we might have worked with that center section—container, convener, connector, catalyst—and thought through how they might hep understand and put into practice the Hein and Warner readings, and what Hein and Warner might have said about them.

And one more thing on writing that might inspire you: Annie Dillard, “Write Till You Drop.”


Mullen on relationship of university and community

Posting for Jacquelynn Jones
In the article, “Public Humanities (Victorian) Culture,” Professor Mary L. Mullen, urges us to reflect on the relationship between the University and the community. In asking us to consider this relationship, Mullen draws upon Roderick Ferguson’s work on the growth of interdisciplinary programs such as Black Studies. Ferguson acknowledges, and Mullen quotes, that  interdisciplinary fields “created links between dominant institutions of knowledge and local communities that necessarily worked in two directions. If, on the one hand, these new fields challenged white hegemony by introducing minority difference to the academy, on the other hand, they transfer ‘the pedagogical relations in academic settings to ‘the storefronts, community centers, and schools within the neighborhood (15).” Mullen expands on Ferguson work, arguing that “Because relationships between the university and the community necessarily change them both, public humanities initiatives should focus less on professionalism or creating new institutional infrastructure and more on how to articulate, inhabit, and question the consequences of such relations (15).”
Ferguson’s bridge metaphor reminds us that it is often times the responsibility of students and faculty from marginalized communities to serve as the bridge between their community and the university. The weight of this task can be a heavy burden for these students/faculty. What is gained as students from marginalized identities move from the classroom to their community and back? What is lost? This conversation, I believe is important for scholars in the public humanities to consider for many reasons. One of these reasons is that it forces scholars to re-define authority as it relates to individuals from marginalized backgrounds. Mullen writes that we perceive individual authority based on their distance from everyday culture(10). If this is how the authority is perceived then the question arises: how can one simultaneously distance themselves from their community and become the bridge between the community and university.  Other major questions one might consider is: How would we define student authority in the classroom and in the community? How does this perceived authority differ in both spaces?

Learning objectives

  1. Build a broad and rigorous framework for conceptualizing and evaluating work in the public humanities including an understanding of conversations and difficulties of the field in its present incarnation.
  2. How can I fit my community and other underrepresented communities into the work of public humanities beyond museums.
  3. How to engage with the community as professionals; when to take the lead, when to follow their lead; how to serve communities responsibly and effectively.
  4. Understand the historiography of public humanities; where it grew from, where it is now, and where it can go; and at each stage, reflect on what we mean when we analyze accessibility, the public and expertise.
  5. How to get our work beyond ourselves, our institutions, the academy; understanding the idea of the public or publics and how it’s changed over time; what does this mean for practice.