New Directions in Active History: Institutions, Communication, and Technologies

There is less than a week left to submit papers to the New Directions in Active History conference.  The conference will be held October 2-4, 2015 at Huron University College in London, Ontario more details about the conference and the  CFP are below:

The term “active history” carries with it a diverse range of meanings. In different contexts, it  can refer to: the broader public diffusion of historical knowledge, approaches to research that “share authority” with the communities being studied, a more focused use of historical knowledge as a tool of well thought out public policy and politics, or even specific fora like ActiveHistory.ca. These different meanings and emphases are linked by the ideas that history can and should play a more constructive role in contemporary cultural and political life and that historical knowledge should be much more than a tool of patriotism or the rote memorization of events, dates, and people. In this, it dovetails with recent discussions about the meaning and future of history, from John Tosh’s Why History Matters (2008) to Jo Guldi and David Armitage’s more recent The History Manifesto (2014).

The low cost of websites, podcasts and other digital publishing mediums opened the door to a new form of publishing aimed at communicating these goals, finding common ground with the open access publishing movement. As a primarily web-based project, ActiveHistory.ca is interested in, but is not exclusive to, using the internet to bring historical perspectives to a wide audience. This website, which emerged out of a 2008 symposium, was never intended to be the only approach to active history and we would like to come together again to explore the many approaches to engaged/public/applied/active history.

In marking these varying definitions of Active History, this conference seeks to explore these shifting dynamics through a series of practically-oriented workshops, paper and poster presentations that take stock (or, suggest new directions in) the state of historical knowledge, its uses, and mobilization. Conference organizers are particularly interested in presentations that explore the ways institutions function to enhance or detract from the knowledge of history in popular culture, the nature of historical knowledge as it is mobilized and contested in the wider society, digital approaches to history, or alternative ways of recording, marking, and disseminating and understanding of the past and its processes.

Proposals for papers or posters that address these themes or other aspects of active history are welcome. Proposals should consist of a titled 250 word abstract that includes the author’s institutional and/or community affiliation and contact information along with a one-page curriculum vitae. We plan to publish a selection of conference papers through ActiveHistory.ca’s peer-reviewed papers section in addition to featuring conference-related content on our group blog and History Slam! podcast.

We will also be arranging four specifically focused panels on the following topics. Please indicate in your submission if you would like to participate on one of these panels:

  • Active History, Heritage and Museums
  • The future of public history programs in Canada
  • Community engaged history
  • Active History beyond the Academy

Proposals should be submitted no later than April 15 to Kaleigh Bradley at activehistory2015@gmail.com

Questions or inquiries about this conference can be made at the same address. We are also looking for additional sponsorship for this event. Please contact us, if you are interested in supporting this conference.

Volunteering and Service Projects

During the month of December I am participating in #reverb14 as a means of getting my writing habits back on track. I will be altering the prompts as needed to fit within the scope of this blog. Today’s prompt: The Plank: It has been said that you must learn to take care of yourself before you can be effective at taking care of others.  How did you take care of yourself in 2014?  How will you take care of yourself in 2015?

One of the most rewarding personal things I’ve done this year is to continue being engaged in projects that matter to me.  Taking on extra projects outside of work might seem counter intuitive to self care.  But working on history projects that are intellectually challenging and interesting is something I greatly enjoy. I find engagement in this type of project rewarding and something that helps lift my mood.

Projects I’ve continued to be a part of this year:

  • Volunteering with the Multicultural History Society of Ontario‘s digital archive project.  This project has focused on making oral history interviews conducted by the MHSO accessible online.  It’s been great to be able to volunteer with this meaningful project from a distance and be able to help out with interview transcription, research/writing of biographies, and indexing of interviews.
  • Serving on the membership committee of the National Council of Public History.  NCPH is a great organization that I’ve enjoyed contributing to.  Serving on the membership committee has allowed me to become more engaged in the organization and connect with a number of public historians from both Canada and the United States.  
  • Active History Website.  I’ve continued to be a co-editor at Active History.  I’ve been involved with this project for a number of years now and it is something I have continued to enjoy participating in.  The site promotes the dissemination of historical knowledge and often focuses on the intersection of history and everyday events.

Bringing the Legacy of Residential Schools into the Classroom

My latest post, “Bringing the Legacy of Residential Schools into the Classroom” can be seen over on Active History.  The post focuses on resources that can help teachers integrate residential schools into their lessons. I look a handful of education tools which can be accessed digitally and are good starting points for teaching the history of residential schools.

Digital Libraries and National Digitization Programmes: How Does Canada Compare?

My most recent post, Digital Libraries and National Digitization Programmes, can be seen over on ActiveHistory.ca.  The post looks at digitization initiatives in the United States, Norway, and the United Kingdom in comparison to recent efforts by Library and Archives Canada to begin a large scale digitization project.

Archival Digitization and The Struggle to Create Useful Digital Reproductions

My most recent post, “Archival Digitization and The Struggle to Create Useful Digital Reproductions” can be seen over on the Activehistory.ca site.  The post focuses on the way that digitization has changed traditional archival research, common problems with digital archival surrogates, and efforts archives are making to improve digitization.