HISU 365 Historians in the Public Arena: Practicing History Outside of the Academy

This seminar will explore the role of historians in recent American public policy and public culture. Historians have regularly been lured out of the archives and into the public arena. They have helped design museum exhibits, served as expert witnesses in high-stakes litigation, been documentary consultants for PBS and the History Channel, and worked as advisers to politicians. As a result, historians own sense of relevance has increased, but they have also found themselves in unfamiliar contexts unable to control how history is discussed. This seminar will examine these activities and their implications for historians and for the publics appreciation of the past.