History | History in Public
J400 | 17579 | Sandweiss


J400: P-HIST-J300
Above class open to majors only
Above class open to undergraduates only

What happens when we break history out of the classroom and bring it
into full public view?  How do historians' ideas about what's
important—even what's "true"—change when they practice their craft
in dialogue with ordinary citizens outside the classroom environment?

For millions of Americans, thinking historically is a daily job;
they encounter the past at the movies, in museums, at family get-
togethers, in the morning paper.  Our task in this class will be to
figure out the ties (and the conflicts) between the historian's
sense of the past and these more common, public encounters.  In our
readings we will learn about the controversies that have resulted as
those two worlds have collided in recent American history, and we
will ask whether conflict is inevitable.  In our writing projects,
we will engage with real individuals and agencies in Bloomington who
are seeking to connect public audiences to their history.

The class includes weekly readings and discussions, several short
written assignments, local site visits, and an independent research
project resulting in an original paper.