Public History in Action

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Public History in Action – Past and Present Practices of Making History Public

Armel Cornu (ed.), Carl-Filip Smedberg (ed.), Sarah Vorminder (ed.)

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  • Published 2023
  • Isbn 9789198450965
  • Type Paperback
  • 204 pages
  • English

The increased polarity of the public space has received concerned attention: faced with a rise in populism, disinformation, and hateful rhetoric, many fear that we have entered a "post truth" age. History has often been invoked in these debates, because of its visible influence in shaping discourse. Many try to utilise historical narratives to address present concerns, doing so in a diverse array of avenues, from long established museums to social media. The release of controversial historical films, the results of conflictual court cases, or the ongoing questions concerning the restitution of artefacts are just some of the events that bring history into mainstream debate. How can history best be conveyed to the public?

Should academic history be granted higher authority regarding historical facts? Can authority be shared between historians and non-professionals in the making of historical knowledge? These questions have animated the field of scholarship known as "Public History".

In this edited volume, Cornu, Smedberg and Vorminder present extensive material with which to ponder these urgent questions. Drawing from case studies, critical pieces, and personal experience, the contributors explore different aspects of public history in Sweden and abroad. All emphasie the great diversity that characterise engagements between history and societies. They propose reflections, suggestions, and occasional cautionary tales, from which the field of public history can mature and grow.