Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Historical Society's 2012 Conference

Popularizing Historical Knowledge: Practice, Prospects, and Perils

Columbia, SC, Thursday, May 31st - Saturday, June 2nd, 2012

Professional historians in the United States are increasingly being called upon to produce more “popular,” more accessible history. How do and how should academic historians reach popular audiences? How and to what extent is “popular” history written around the world? Does the meaning of and audience for “popular history” vary from place to place? Along with professional historians, states, elites, and a variety of interest groups have long had an interest in sponsoring, supporting, and generating historical knowledge for popular and other audiences. We seek paper and panel proposals that will consider “popular” history in its various guises and locales. How and to what extent is the interest in “popular” history genuinely new or does it have a deeper genealogy? How do and how should historians interact with television and movie production or write op-ed pieces or blogs or serve as expert witnesses? Is there such a thing as a truly “popular” history? Do we need a distinctive “popular history” and are historians
properly equipped to write it?

We especially encourage panel proposals, though individual paper proposals are welcome as well. And our interpretation of “panel” is broad: 2 or more presenters constitute a panel—chairs and commentators are optional. As at past conferences, we hope for bold yet informal presentations that will provoke lots of questions and discussion from the audience, not presenters reading papers word-for-word from a podium followed by a commentator doing the same.

Please submit proposals (brief abstract and brief CV) by December 1, 2011 to Mark Smith and Dean Kinzley, 2012 Program Chairs, at

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