Projects in the print-digital pipeline

sketch of well

Sketch for a key element of the “Slavery in New York” exhibit, found in the Public History Commons collection relating to the exhibit.

Regular visitors to the Public History Commons may have noticed that we’ve undergone a slight facelift recently.  The History@Work blog, initially the sole occupant of this site, has gradually been joined by other projects:  the News Feed, The Public Historian’s digital space, and now our new Library. To try to keep our interface clear and easy to navigate, we’ve bumped the blog down a little bit on the page and simplified the navigation bar.  We hope readers are finding their way around without too much trouble.

We’re also excited to introduce the Library to you.  Although still in its very early stages, it represents an important step in a larger project of creating flexible platforms for publication and communication and ways for our print and digital projects to cross-pollinate more easily.  We’re starting to get a sense of the possibilities through two recent collaborations, one of which revolves around Richard Rabinowitz’s award-winning article “Eavesdropping at the Well: Interpretive Media in the ‘Slavery in New York’ Exhibition.” Continue reading

Professional opportunities March 25, 2014

ANNCT: Estevan Rael-Galvez will give the 2014 Fredric M. Miller Lecture sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic Region Center for the Humanities (MARCH), May 8, 2014, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.

CFP:Rethinking History: The Journal of Theory and Practice” seeks paper proposals for a theme issue devoted to the topic of “Authenticity.”

CFP:School vs. Memory: Conflict, Identity, Coexistence,” Oct. 10-11, 2014, Prague, Czech Republic
DEADLINE: May 11, 2014

CONF:Courage to Ask: Courage to Tell,” Southwest Oral History Association (SOHA) Annual Conference – April 3-5, 2014, Tempe, Arizona, U.S.

CONF:Consuming Objects: Negotiating Relationships with the Material World,” 12th Annual Material Culture Symposium for Emerging Scholars – April 11 and 12, 2014, Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.

CONF: Fourth annual Public History Community Forum (PubComm) conference – April 26, 2014, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.

FUNDING: Mining History Association Research Grant Program for graduate students, academic scholars, public sector professionals in related disciplines, independent scholars, writers, and educators.
DEADLINE: April 15, 2014

PUB: Table of Contents now available for Environmental History Vol. 19, Issue 2 (April 2014)

PUB: New eBook edition from MuseumsEtc – “The Exemplary Museum

Digital projects showcased in Monterey

shirt pattern

An item from New Mexico State University’s digitized Agricultural Extension Service records. Source: NMSU Library Digital Collections

At the third annual “lightning talks” session highlighting new (and some not so new) digital public history projects at the National Council on Public History conference, a dozen presenters showed off their work to a lunchtime audience.

A good-enough platform for change

report cover

Today’s post is also the introduction to the born-digital publication “Public History in a Changing Climate,” available now to NCPH conference registrants and to other readers by summer 2014.

In a television interview last year, American writer and neo-agrarian icon Wendell Berry spoke about the “dreadful situation” facing young people who are grappling with the cascading environmental, economic, and social challenges linked with runaway capitalism and anthropogenic climate change.  Berry noted that the recognition of our big problems creates an expectation of equally big solutions, but added that our own answers and fixes have too often been part and parcel of those problems, because we’ve tended to impose them in a way that ignores the limitations and needs of the environments we inhabit.  Real change, he said, means learning to listen in new ways to the non-human world and refusing to be rushed or impatient even while acknowledging the urgent need for action.  “I think of them,” Berry said of younger people entering this arena, “and I say well, the situation you’re in now is a situation that’s going to call for a lot of patience.  And to be patient in an emergency is a terrible trial.”

The idea of being patient in an emergency strikes me as useful for public historians to think about but from the opposite direction.  Rather than being impatient activists who need to be convinced of the value of patience, we tend to be inherently deliberate practitioners who haven’t collectively acknowledged that we are in fact in the midst of an emergency. Continue reading

All the news that fits: The view from where I sit

mosaic of typesetter

Typesetter, John A. Prior Health Services Library mosaic mural, Columbus, Ohio. Photo credit: Ehschnell at en.wikipedia.

For quite a number of years now, I’ve been one of the people involved in gathering and disseminating news about the public history field through the various channels of the National Council on Public History:  the H-Public listserv, the News Feed here in the Public History Commons, and the regular emailed updates that go out to NCPH members.  More or less once a week, I cull through other listservs, submitted announcements, and odds and ends that come to us through various professional and social networks and try to reduce the pile to a more or less digestible-sized list of professional opportunities for public historians.  Sometimes this feels like a purely clerical task (there’s a lot of cutting and pasting involved!) but every once in a while I realize what a valuable and broad perspective it’s given me on our ever-evolving field.  In return for those hours of cutting and pasting, I get an ongoing education about what people are doing “out there” and how a very wide range of practitioners are putting history to work in the world.  Here’s how things look to me at the moment. Continue reading

Professional opportunities Jan. 21, 2014

ANNCT: Museums Advocacy Day 2014, Feb. 24-25 in Washington, D.C., is the prime opportunity for museums to make their case on Capitol Hill and your participation will provide an invaluable service to both your museum and your museum colleagues nationwide.

AWARD: 2014 Waldo Gifford Leland Award from Society of American Archivists for writing of superior excellence and usefulness in the field of archival history, theory, and practice.
DEADLINE: Feb. 28, 2014

AWARD: Philip M. Hamer and Elizabeth Hamer Kegan Award from Society of American Archivists for an archivist, editor, group of individuals, or institution that has increased public awareness of a specific body of documents through compilation, transcription, exhibition, or public presentation of archives or manuscript materials for educational, instructional, or other public purpose.
DEADLINE: Feb. 28, 2014

CFP:Remembering Violence and Violent Memory,” May 30, 2014, Cambridge, U.K.
DEADLINE: Feb. 14, 2014

CFP:Happy Anniversary? Measuring the Impact, Legacy and Success of Anniversary Events,” May 13, 2014, Hampton Court Palace, London, U.K.
DEADLINE: Feb. 28, 2014

CFP:Journeys into the past: History as a tourist attraction in the 19th and 20th
,” Nov. 13-15, 2014, Siegen, Germany
DEADLINE: March 15, 2014

EDU: Online course on Legal Issues in Collection Management from Northern States Conservation Center, Feb. 3-28, 2014

EDU: National Endowment for the Humanities Landmarks of American History and Culture Workshop Opportunity, July 2014, Rochester, New York, U.S.

EDU: Historic Deerfield, Inc. announces its 2014 Undergraduate Summer Fellowship Program in Early American History and Material Culture, June 9-Aug. 10, 2014
DEADLINE: Feb. 7, 2014

PUB: First of three special online issues from Past & Present celebrating the work of E. P. Thompson now available – free through the end of March 2014.

PUB: History Australia, vol 11, issue 3, 2013 now available online. Cultural historian of war Christina Twomey writes on trauma and the reinvigoration of war in Australia’s national memory.

Help us build a bibliography on public history and climate change

book cover

In many ways, environmental public history is still a very new field, with just one major title devoted directly to the subject.

Google “public history” and “climate change” and you’ll quickly realize that public historians are only just beginning to talk about how their work relates to the increasingly urgent questions posed by the earth’s rapidly changing climate.  You could make a case that environmental public history is itself still in its infancy, even though it’s been more than two decades since Martin Melosi, in his President’s Annual Address to the National Council on Public History, issued a call for “environmental history [to] be a means to make the value of history better understood to the public.”[1]  As Melosi pointed out, the combination is a natural one in many ways, yet there are also challenges to pursuing it–for example, the highly political nature of many environmental issues and historians’ caution about crossing the line into advocacy.  In the print realm, a single, now-decade-old collection, Public History and the Environment (co-edited by Melosi and Phil Scarpino and published by Krieger in 2004), has been devoted to the subject, and “global warming” makes only two brief appearances in its pages.  As the global atmosphere continues to warm and its effects are felt more and more widely, how should public historians respond? Continue reading

Professional opportunities Dec. 17, 2013

AWARD:   Free webinar for potential applications to learn about American Association for State and Local History’s Leadership in History awards, Jan. 9, 2014, 2-3 p.m. eastern time

CFP:  Museum and Curatorial Studies Review, an open access, peer-reviewed journal that publishes essays from all academic fields such as art history, anthropology, and ethnic studies, seeks articles for its second and subsequent issues

CFP: Oral History Society Annual Conference – Community Voices, July 18-19, 2014 (Note new dates), Manchester, U.K.

CFP: Green Capitalism? Exploring the Crossroads of Environmental and Business History, Oct. 30-31, 2014, Hagley Museum and Library, Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.
DEADLINE:  May 1, 2014

EDU:  Auschwitz Jewish Center Fellows Program: A Bridge to History – Fully funded graduate and undergraduate fellowship opportunities for summer 2014

EDU:  Visual History Summer Institute at Georgia Southern University, May 12-23, 2014 – Space for eight professional historians who will learn how to use the basic tools of media production to create their own documentary films

EDU:  Nuclear History Boot Camp 2014, an initiative of the Nuclear Proliferation International History Project (NPIHP) aimed at building a new generation of experts on the international history of nuclear weapons, May 2014, Rome, Italy
DEADLINE:  Dec. 31, 2013

FUNDING:  Grant from Baylor University Institute for Oral History for community oral history project in Texas
DEADLINE:  Jan. 17, 2014

PUB:  New blog on history museum leadership, linked with forthcoming release of AltaMira book by Joan Baldwin and Anne Ackerson

TOC:  Environmental History Volume 19 Issue 1 (January 2014)

My carbon offset piggybank: Thoughts on sustainability and professional conference-going (Part 2)

bubble map

The US leads the world in carbon emissions since the age of steam. Photo credit: Carbon Visuals.

Continued from Part 1.

Purchasing carbon offsets, as most people probably know by now, involves giving a company an amount based on the carbon generated by your own activities.  The company then invests the money in projects—building renewable energy projects, reforestation, energy efficiency measures, etc.—that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  There are lots of good questions that we can and should raise about this.  How accurate are the calculations that offsets are based on?  Which companies are the most effective and reliable?  And perhaps most important, isn’t this just a way to carry on as usual while feeling as though we’re doing something to save the environment?

Here are my own answers to these questions. Continue reading