International Federation for Public History / Fédération Internationale pour l’Histoire Publique logo. Credit: IFPH/FIHP blog
Public historians attending a National Council on Public History (NCPH) Annual Meeting during the organization’s first thirty years of existence (1979-2009) rarely benefited from opportunities to learn about or discuss public history practices beyond the borders of the United States or Canada. A glance at the conference program from the 2009 meeting in Providence, Rhode Island, for example, shows that little attention was given to any international topics beyond a few sessions addressing the need to devise strategies for working with international tourists to public history sites in the United States. Some Canadian scholars attended and participated in these annual meetings, but ultimately international scholars looking to promote their public history work or network with like-minded scholars during NCPH’s first thirty years regretfully lacked a strong platform in which to do so. Continue reading
Happy spring, all you consultants out in cyberspace! Monday, May 6th, will bring you our seventh monthly Consultants’ Corner Tweetchat. The chat will be held at 4:00 p.m. EST and the topic will be “international perspectives in historical consulting.” We hope you can join us, and we especially welcome consultants from nations outside the United States.
To participate in this and future TweetChats, you will need to sign up for a Twitter account by going to www.twitter.com. When it’s time for the chat, go to http://tweetchat.com/ and enter #phconchat as the chat hashtag. Alternatively, you can work with a special Twitter browser like TweetDeck. Let us know if you have any questions in advance of the chat, and we hope to see you there on Monday!
~ The Consultants’ Corner Editorial Team (@NCPHconsultants)
On a recent conference call that connected public history practitioners from Bangladesh, Brazil, Italy, Spain, South Africa, and the U.S., one participant remarked on the utility of replicating historic site and museum programs from different geographic locations in others. Another extolled the benefits of sharing ideas, methods, and experiences across the different regions of the world. Meanwhile I mapped these diverse localities in my mind, juxtaposing one local program with another; drawing others into the picture; putting in conversation an oral-history archive in Santiago with an aspiring one in Cambodia; comparing what to do with the former UN Special Courts building in Sierra Leone and what to do with a former site of detention and torture in Argentina; the universal linkages, I think, that connected these diverse locales.
Truth be told, I am interested in the idea of an international public history (maybe as part of a broader shift to public humanities) as much as I am with the idea, articulated in Robert Weyeneth’s recent piece in this blog, that the bedrock of public history remains rooted in the local, a particular place, a house’s history, the story of a neighborhood, the “location-specific case study.” Continue reading