U.S. Intellectual History Blog

S-USIH 2017 Conference Plenary: “Public History and the Future of the Past”

Marking nearly a decade of gathering diverse scholars in dialogue, program plans for the 2017 Society for U.S. Intellectual History’s annual meeting in Dallas are well underway. (A friendly reminder: There’s still time to send in your proposals, due by 15 April). Given our conference theme of “Histories of Memory, Memories of History,” we hope to bring more librarians, museum professionals, and archivists into the discussion. With that in mind, we’re delighted to announce that we’ll kick off the proceedings on Thursday, Oct. 26th, with an opening plenary session on “Public History and the Future of the Past.”

We’ve brought together some wonderful scholars for this panel, which I will chair: Jennifer Himmelreich, Native American Fellowships Director, Peabody Essex Museum; Brenda Tindal, Staff Historian, Levine Museum of the New South; Valerie Wade, Oral Historian, African-American Library at the Gregory School; Krishna Shenoy, The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza; and Whitney Stewart, Assistant Professor of History, University of Texas, Dallas. In addition to learning about the past and future of their institutions, we want to think alongside our participants. To that end, we’ve asked them to bring us problems, concerns, and big questions to round out this initial list of topics:

  • How does public history interpret and shape cultural narratives of power and leadership?
  • How can libraries, archives, and museums function as meaningful cultural institutions?
  • What are the ideological origins of America’s public history institutions?
  • How does public history shape cultural memory?
  • What steps can public historians take to advocate for the humanities, or other causes?
  • How do archives address themes of resistance, protest, and change?
  • How has the pedagogy of public history changed, and what’s next?
  • What sort of platforms and resources must future public historians provide?
  • What would “alternative” libraries or museums look like?

Stay tuned here for more conference news, and we look forward to seeing you in Dallas!

3 Thoughts on this Post

    • Thanks, Tim! Thrilled to do this, and very grateful to my hard-working colleagues on the 2017 USIH conference committee for their help. We look forward to reading proposals: the more, the merrier!

  1. The relationship between intellectual history and public history came up during a panel at the recent NCPH conference in Indianapolis last month (http://ncph.org/conference/2017-annual-meeting).

    Thrilled to hear that S-USIH will be kicking things off by exploring this important subject. Can’t wait to learn more!

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