University of Delaware

Thursday, January 4, 2018: 2:10 PM
Marriott Ballroom, Salon 2 (Marriott Wardman Park)
P. Gabrielle Foreman, University of Delaware
Anna Lacy, University of Delaware
In our era’s historical and humanities professions and professoriate, it’s rarely graduate students, but rather faculty, who remain unconvinced that applied historical research and public history are worthwhile pursuits—at least for students in their own programs. Some of this reticence emerges from the values inculcated by faculty’s own university training, some, however hazily expressed, by well-grounded concerns about promotion and tenure requirements that lag behind recent developments in public humanities graduate training. If tenure metrics have not been modified to account for collaborative and public scholarship, why encourage students to think about their career trajectories in this way? Despite the fact that history PhD have always taken positions with cultural institutions: with museums, archives and repositories, the shift in emphasis, urgency and importance of and on public history (as there are fewer jobs and majors in the humanities) has reached a tipping point.

This presentation will share just this part of University of Delaware’s articulation of the potential of building on—and diversifying—its strengths in public history, museum studies and material culture. Our emphasis will be on the Colored Conventions’s 1) interdisciplinary and cross-academic sector inter-institutional collaboration, 2) project-based and in-class scholarly partnerships with faculty across the country and 3) the role of academic social networks in social media spaces that enhance and lead to collaborative work. Though the fear of public humanities projects being “add-ons” that adds to time to degree has been a worry, securing (enhanced) stipend and teaching release support (through NEH, LUCE and University funding), and deliberately highlighting graduate student leadership (scholarly exhibit collaborators, as conveners and as national presenters) has led to enhancing UD graduate students’ professional circles and to achieving impressive job placement in traditional disciplinary and DH positions.

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