If you’re seeking to write to broader audiences, op-eds can be an effective way to draw on your skills as a historian to discuss the present-day implications of your research, historicize contemporary issues, and spotlight the concerns of those in your community.
Year in Review: The Top Public, Scholarly Pieces of 2022
2022 saw outstanding public scholarship. Each week, Ben Railton shared the week's best public scholarship in his #ScholarSunday threads. This year-end list highlights 30 of the year's top pieces.
Every flute its Lizzo, Every Lizzo her flute.
What do the reactions to Lizzo's September 2022 visit to the National Archive say about access to public services? We have work to do if we want to keep saying libraries are welcoming spaces, and a radical librarian from the 1930s gives us a place to start.
Vietnam War Un-Essay Project
This "un-essay" assignment, which was used in an upper-level class on the Vietnam War, provides an alternate option for students' final research project--one that encourages creativity and experimentation in multimedia. The assignment prompt also defines the un-essay, offers examples from other courses, and provides evaluation criteria.
Vietnam War Oral History Project
In this assignment for an upper-level class on the Vietnam War, students conduct oral history interviews with Vietnam veterans. The project was designed to support the Library of Congress Veterans History Project. The assignment prompt also provides links and resources for learning and conducting oral history interviews.
Proposal for Public Site of History (Museum Exhibit or Monument) – Assignment
This assignment is the final project for Mexican American History Since 1848. It tasks students with choosing a single topic from the course they think ought to be shared with the public (as a museum exhibit or monument), and using the historical literacy skills they developed during the semester to describe the topic and its significance to society.
HIST 4527: Mexican American History since 1848 – Syllabus
This course explores the history of Mexican-descent people in the United States since 1848. It gives particular attention to how the story of Mexican America appears in public sites of historical memory in the nation, and tasks students with developing a proposal for a museum exhibit or monument on a topic in Mexican American history.
From Grad School to the Library
Considering career options outside of academia? One librarian tells her story of transitioning from a PhD program in history to the world of libraries.
History on the Government’s Dime
Practicing history as part of a state agency can be challenging, especially for a historic prison. This article uses Idaho as a case study to outline some of those challenges, and how historians must contend with conservative governments, racist pasts, and difficult prison history.
Public History and Dark Tourism
This article looks at what it’s like to work at a dark tourism destination, in this case the Old Idaho Penitentiary. From a public history perspective, it details the challenges of practicing history responsibly, while also catering to visitor demand for paranormal programming such as macabre prison stories. Ultimately, lucrative paranormal investigations allow for more historically based, educational programming that may not be as popular, but fulfills the site’s mission of informing the public of Idaho and prison history.