HIST 2811A: Public History from Memory to Museums
Fall 2022

Instructor: Prof. David Dean

Introduction: This course introduces you to public history, a new relatively new field that explores the ways in which the past is represented in sites such as museums, archives, films, theatre performances, walking tours, monuments and memorials, historical novels, graphic novels, video games, family photograph albums, and digital platforms. Public historians do not only study historical representations but actively create history in the present, usually in collaboration with others. To study public history is to come to terms with the contested nature of history itself, and to situate narratives of history within contexts such as public memory, identity, and politics. While frequently referring to public history in Canada, students taking this course will encounter how public history is practiced across the globe.

Class Format: This will be a fully asynchronous online course organized in six two-week modules. Each module will require you to engage with mini-lectures, interviews, documentaries, websites etc. that can be viewed at your discretion. Discussions, all course materials (including links to external sites), assignment submission etc. will happen through Brightspace. Most of your work will be on your own, but true to the nature of the field of public history, there will be some collaborative participation elements in the course.

Aims and Goals: You will leave this course with (1) an understanding of what public history is (2) a familiarity with the methods, theories, and approaches of public history (3) an awareness of the many ways in which the past has a presence in our everyday lives (4) how public history works in a variety of national and transnational contexts.

Assessment: Students will be graded through five online assignments which will have set due dates and will follow logically alongside the modules. One assignment is a group project. There will be no final exam in the course.

Text: There is no set text for the course. Readings etc. will be provided online.

Questions? Please email me at David.Dean@carleton.ca