Civic Engagement Then and Now

A new seminar series on Public History is being launched at the Institute for Historical Research as a forum for an on-going dialogue on pressing issues in the field between academic historians and students, practitioners of public history and others interested in the roles, purposes and challenges of ‘history in public’.

The seminar will provide a platform to discuss the relationship between practical, political and methodological issues of public history, to develop innovative new approaches to historiography and public engagement, and to respond flexibly to the challenges of research policy.  

To launch the Public History Seminar, the convenors are delighted to welcome Professor Rebecca Conard, Professor of Public History at Middle Tennessee University and former President of the National Council on Public History, to give a lecture on ‘Civic Engagement Then and Now: A View from the US’:

The issue of relevancy is a long-standing concern among historians, often summoned when current events or trends threaten to destabilize civic order in some way.  Rebecca Conard will offer a historical perspective on history-based civic engagement in the U.S.—the use of history and historic places to frame public discussion about current issues.  Her remarks will span the Commonwealth Conferences organized by the State Historical Society of Iowa in the 1920s to encourage greater citizen involvement in policymaking, to the 2003 National Park Service Director’s Order No. 75A on Civic Engagement and Public Involvement, triggered in part by the air attacks of September 11, 2001, but also responding to a 2001 advisory board report urging the National Park Service to think of America’s nearly 400 national parks as places to tell “the American story . . . faithfully, completely, accurately” because “our nation’s history is our civic glue.”

The lecture will be held at 6.00pm on Thursday 13th September in the Court Room at the Senate House, University of London.  All are welcome.  Wine and nibbles will be provided.

The convenors of the Public History Seminar are:

  • Alix Green (University of Hertfordshire)
  • Anna Maerker (King’s College, London)
  • John Tosh (Roehampton University)
  • Judy Faraday (John Lewis Partnership)
  • Tim Boon (Science Museum)
3 Sep 2012