Drawing on theory and practice from five continents, The Public History Reader offers clearly written accessible introductions to debates in public history as it places people, such as practitioners, bloggers, archivists, local historians, curators or those working in education, at the heart of history-making.
Hilda Kean and Paul Martin explore public history as an everyday practice rather than simply as an academic discipline - the idea that historical knowledge is discovered and accrued from everyday encounters people have with their environments and the continuing dialogue that the present has with the past.
Divided into three parts, Part I looks at who makes history, focusing on the ways in which the past has taken on a heightened popular sense of importance in the present and the ways in which it is used. Accordingly, history, far from being fixed in time, is fluid and is re-made to serve contemporary agendas in the present. Part II addresses the question of materials and approaches to making history.
By using material more commonly within the domain of artists, collectors or geographers and archaeologists, public historians have opened up understandings of the past. Part III looks at the way in which presentations of the past change over time and their different forms and emphases. Throughout, the Reader emphasizes the challenges for public historians today.
Using their own expertise in constructing and teaching a Public History MA, Hilda Kean and Paul Martin have suggested themes and indicative extracts that draw on their understanding of what works best with students. The Public History Reader is a perfect resource for all students of public history and all those interested in understanding the role of the past in our lives today.
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