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Canadian Historical Association: Conversations across time, place, and culture
June 3 @ 8:00 am - June 5 @ 5:00 pm
Teaching Public History
Public History routinely captures headlines across North America, with the struggle over monuments,
textbooks, educational priorities and flags occupying centre stage in battles over how people remember,
form identities and project their desired way of life on to their communities. It is a major public issue
and one in which passion may spill over into violence and pedagogical control.
Within this rests the obvious question of who decides what is taught, commemorated or remembered.
Post-secondary institutions that focus on educating their students in public history have begun to take
the lead in these larger public discussions. These four papers examine what has worked when teaching
public history to undergraduate students and how our interactions with public history professionals and
platforms make our students’ learning more relevant. We discuss collaborative projects between our
universities and other educational and heritage institutions, how we equip students to play a role in
these knowledge mobilization opportunities, and what they learn from them.
The emphasis in this panel is on effective education. As public history educators, we need to be
concretely aware of the working knowledge our students gain from experiences in the field and
classroom, and if we are adding value for our students as they prepare for employment in and out of the
various avenues of public history. This is a conversation that will be relevant to academic historians
working to incorporate more experiential approaches to education, and to graduate students who
increasingly find themselves working on the front lines of public history through their research
dissemination and post-graduate careers.