Making Histories, Making Memories in Difficult Times

Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co KG
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Making Histories, 2020, pp. 1-10
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We have called this book Making Histories in order to address some questions arising in the many international debates over the last few years about the nature of public history. Our emphasis in this volume is on the participatory and creative elements in historical work. This does not mean that we have abandoned more formal understandings evident in university training courses, a model that focuses on accreditation of expertise and the production of history in various forms for a range of audiences. Rather this volume is intended to make an intervention into two main issues. The first relates to the breadth of what can be termed “public history”. If we take audiences and participatory public history an idea of shared custodianship, for example, into account – does the centre still hold (apologies to WB Yeats)? Or does a broad tent, umbrella, indeed any sheltering metaphor, inevitably detract from the valuing of traditional authority and skills? And if we place both the process of constructing public histories or collaboration between groups at the centre of the stage, does this inevitably mean a loss of authority or can we develop mutual appreciation and respect for complementary skills? Some argue that this is the distinction between “sharing authority” and “shared authority”, to refine Mike Frisch’s now famous and misunderstood expression.
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