HS 6301A: Introduction to Public History - Graduate Course - Fall 2018

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Course Information

Instructor Information

Dr. Lindsey Passenger Wieck (LWieck [at] stmarytx. edu)

Office Hours
Mondays and Wednesdays 12-1:30PM, Thursdays 5-6:15PM
or schedule an appointment

Office Location
Chaminade Tower 500 - Department of History

Office Phone

Contact Info
Feel free to call during office hours or email if you have questions.

Course Details

Class Time & Location
6:30-9:15PM Thursday, Reinbolt Hall 101

Twitter hashtag

Fixed Deadlines
Resources on Twitter by the start of class each week

Blog Posts by 11PM on Saturdays (after class listed)

Blog Comments before class each week

Publicly Historians: Our Blog
Log in for Publicly Historians

Course Texts

Books to Acquire:

Faye Sayer, Public History: A Practical Guide (2015) | paperback

Dolores Hayden, The Power of Place: Urban Landscapes as Public History (1995) | paperback

Ari Kelman, A Misplaced Massacre: Struggling over the Memory of Sand Creek (2015) | check out used book prices & kindle price for discounted options paperback

Amy Lonetree, Decolonizing Museums: Representing Tribal America in National and Tribal Museums (2012) | paperback | kindle

OPTIONAL Jenny L. Presnell, The Information-Literate Historian: A Guide to Research for History Students, Third Edition (2019) | paperback

Other readings:
Other readings will be available here or via Canvas.

Course Description & Objectives

This introduction to Public History will examine the historiographical and methodological underpinnings of the field and teach strategies for meeting the challenges of presenting historical narrative and interpretation in public settings. This course will introduce students to a variety of fields and contexts in which public historians work, and orient students to larger program goals that will culminate in an internship, capstone project, and professional preparation. This course will outline the theories and philosophies underlying the Public History field, while the second course in this required series, Public History Methods (Conceptualizing Capstone Project), will focus on the methods and practice of public history. his class will immerse students in the field of public history -- in its methods and its debates. Students will engage in group and individual projects to gain experience in the diverse branches of this field.

What is Public History? Public history engages the general public with history in real world settings. It refers to how history is presented and interpreted outside the classroom or academic environment. It involves historical content, interpretation, and use of secondary and primary sources, but also includes tools and strategies for public presentation that enhance popular awareness of the historical past and the world around them. Public history institutions depend upon collaborative relationships between historians and community leaders, activists, and anyone interested in stimulating historical awareness within society. By making explicit links between the past and the present, public history activities promote tourism, economic development, and a general sense of community wellbeing inspired by a shared the past.

Upon the successful completion of this course, you will be able to:
  • Describe the various public and private institutions that interpret history for the general public, as well as the different methods used for communicating history to the public outside of the classroom.
  • Detail and engage in debates in this field about issues including inclusion, representation, and shared authority.
  • Visit and analyze public history institutions in San Antonio to consider the role of Heritage Tourism in the field of public history.
  • Construct historical narratives for public consumption, implementing tools for sharing writing and multimedia with the public.
  • Develop awareness of strategies for engaging diverse stakeholders in public history and historical interpretation. Evaluate methods of creating inclusive public history spaces that incorporate diverse perspectives on history and culture.
  • Develop framework for portfolio to showcase public history projects, community engagement, public writing, and other artifacts and professional materials.
Skills you'll practice in this course:
  • Public speaking
  • Working collaboratively with peers and community partners
  • Networking and developing professional skills; developing portfolio and professional materials
  • Posing historical questions; finding & analyzing primary and secondary sources; citing sources;

San Antonio Mission


Date Topics Prepare for Class Other Materials Tasks To Do
Week 1: Th 8/16
  • Introductions
  • Setting up Blog and Other Accounts
  • History Skill Blogging Bootcamp
  • Course Overview - Syllabus
  • What is Public History?
  • READ Faye Sayer, Public History, chapter 1, "Introduction: History Beyond the Classroom" (p. 1-20).

    READ Robert Weible, "Defining Public History: Is it Possible? Is it Necessary?"

    READ National Council on Public History (NCPH), "About the Field"

    READ W. Caleb McDaniel, "How to Read for History." (Sections #2 and #3 are most important, I personally don't really use the skimming strategy (section #1) though you might find it useful).

    READ SNCC Legacy Project: Building Partnerships Between Activists and the Academy (Short Version) (Optional: If you're intrigued by this SNCC Legacy Project, you can find a more in-depth version of this report, 2nd doc on the page.)

    THOUGHTS What is public history? What places does public history happen? Who does public history? Why do we do public history?

    DO Create a twitter account (free). Use a professional or clever name. You can use your computer or your phone or mobile device to do this.

    DO Accept the invitation for the class blog that you'll receive later this week. I'll forward more directions after you receive the invite.

    DO Accept your invitation to the Slack page and the Canvas Public History Resources page.

    THOUGHTS You don't need to recite every fact you read, so there's no need to memorize. Take notes that help jog your memory. Annotate your readings. Come to class with a list of some items that stuck out to you. Classes will include discussion of readings with open-ended questions as well as more specific comprehension questions.

    Blog Write a short introductory post that introduces yourself. Include a description of your public history interests. Post by 11PM on Saturday

    Week 2: Th 8/23 MEET at Rinconcito de Esperanza: 816 S. Colorado St., San Antonio for a Walking Tour with Graciela Sanchez, Director of Esperanza Center of Peace and Justice
  • Select project for this class & begin to develop plan
  • If you need a ride, please contact your classmates.
  • Doing Community History
  • Blogging Bootcamp part 2
  • READFaye Sayer, Public History, chapters 2 and 5, "Museums, Archives, and Heritage Centers" and "Community History" (pg. 22-46, 113-146).

    DORead and Annotate these blog posts. Consider the structure, the narrative technique, and the basic building blocks of blogs that are included. I've tried to come up with a variety of styles for you to consider. READ American Alliance of Museums, The Ever Evolving American Identity a New Mission at The Tenement Museum, August 15 2018.

    READ Zebulon Miletsky and Tomas Gonzalez, How Gentrification and Displacement are Remaking Boston, Black Perspectives, August 9 2018.

    READ Aimee E. Newell, The Value of Small Museum Experience, or Why I Don’t Have a “Better” Job, AASLH Blog, August 8, 2018.

    READ Frances Solá-Santiago, Cringeworthy 1932 Newspaper Clip Called Frida Kahlo “Wife of the Master Mural Painter” Diego Rivera, Remezcla, August 16, 2018.

    READ Choose two more history/public history/culture blog posts to read and annotate for class this week (one can be your Twitter Resource for the week as well).

    Share PH Resource: Twitter 01 before class starts.

    Blog Comments 01 - Read and respond to three classmates' blog posts by Thursday at noon.

    Blog 01Post by 11PM on Saturday.

    Week 3: Th 8/30
  • Meet our Librarian: Necia Wolff
  • Producing and Consuming History
  • Podcasts & History
  • History Skill Finding Sources
  • History Skill Analyzing and Evaluating Sources
  • READ Faye Sayer, Public History, chapter 3, "Methods of Communication in Public History" (pg. 47-72).

    READ[Optional] Jenny Presnell, The Information-Literate Historian, chapters 3-5 (pg. 51-107).

    DO Download a podcast player if you don't already have one.

    LISTEN Ben's Franklin's World, episode 092: Sharon Block, How to Research History Online ("Doing History" series).

    LISTEN BackStory, "Saving American History, June 29.

    LISTEN Choose a Historical Podcast that's of interest to you to listen to. Ideas of podcasts include In the Past Lane, Uncivil, Teaching Hard History, and Museopunks. (This can be your twitter resource for the week).

    DOAdd Headshot and bio to blog, twitter, etc.

    Share PH Resource: Twitter 02 before class starts.

    Blog Comments 02 - Read and respond to three classmates' blog posts by Thursday at noon.

    Blog 02 Post by 11PM on Saturday.

    Week 4: Th 9/6
  • Place-Based and Local History
  • History Skill Finding Community Partners
  • History Skill Working with Primary Sources
  • READ Dolores Hayden, Power of Place, Preface & Part I, "Claiming Urban Landscapes as Public History" (pg. x-97).

    READ[Optional] Jenny Presnell, The Information-Literate Historian, chapter 6, "The Thrill of Discovery: Primary Sources" (pg. 108-163).

    DO Add Headshot and bio to blog, twitter, etc. DO Prepare for a brief (3-5min) project proposal to class (individual or group projects permitted). Include topic of interest, potential sources, methods of research and of public history output, and its connection to a community partner. Projects that work with the Esperanza Center are strongly encouraged. Share PH Resource: Twitter 03 before class starts.

    Blog Comments 03 - Read and respond to three classmates' blog posts by Thursday at noon.

    Blog 03 Post by 11PM on Saturday.

    Week 5: Th 9/13
  • Community History
  • History Skill Working with Community Partners
  • READ Dolores Hayden, Power of Place, Part II, "Los Angeles: Public Past in the Downtown Landscape" (pg. 98-247). DO Turn in a project proposal (2-3 pages single spaced or via blog). Sections should include a proposed title, topic of your project, discussion of methods of research and of public history output, a plan that outlines a timeline and any moving parts, a list of partners or other folks who will be helping you with the project, a list of sources, and a budget (if applicable). Remember this project must be completed over the course of the semster (You could also prepare a proposal for phase 1 of a multi-semester project). Share PH Resource: Twitter 04 before class starts.

    Blog Comments 04 - Read and respond to three classmates' blog posts by Thursday at noon.

    Blog 04 Post by 11PM on Saturday.

    Week 6: Th 9/20
  • When History is Messy: Memory and Heritage
  • History Skill Evaluating Images, Maps, and Other Media
  • READ Ari Kelman, Misplaced Massacre, Preface & Chapters 1-3 (pg. ix-135).

    READ[Optional] Jenny Presnell, The Information-Literate Historian, chapters 9 & 10, "Maps: From Simple to Geographic Information Systems" and "Beyond the Written Word: Finding, Evaluating, and Using Images, Motion Pictures, and Audio" (pg. 199-240).

    READ Technical Leaflet 273: Demonstrating Relevance (Canvas) Share PH Resource: Twitter 05 before class starts.

    Blog Comments 05 - Read and respond to three classmates' blog posts by Thursday at noon.

    Blog 05 Post by 11PM on Saturday.

    Week 7: Th 9/27
  • When History is Messy: Politics and Memory
  • History Skill Statistics and Quantifiable Data
  • READ Ari Kelman, Misplaced Massacre, chapters 4-6 & Epiologue (p. 136-280).

    READ[Optional] Jenny Presnell, The Information-Literate Historian, chapter 11, "Statistics: Quantifying History" (pg. 245-270).

    WATCH Bringing the Past to the Present Contemporary Issues at Historic Sites & Museums (1:29, Webinar link on canvas) Share PH Resource: Twitter 06 before class starts.

    Blog Comments 06 - Read and respond to three classmates' blog posts by Thursday at noon.

    Blog 06 Post by 11PM on Saturday.

    Week 8: Th 10/4
  • When History is Messy - Evaluating Messy History in Local Places
  • READ Faye Sayer, Public History, chapter 7, "Policy, Politics, and History" (p. 185-218). Share PH Resource: Twitter 07 before class starts.

    Blog Comments 07 - Read and respond to three classmates' blog posts by Thursday at noon.

    Blog 07 Post by 11PM on Saturday.

    Week 9: Th 10/11
  • Digital History
  • Digital Media and Doing Public History in a Digital World
  • Communications and Marketing
  • History Skill Using Social Media
  • READ TBD WATCH Social Media 101 / Twitter for Museums and Historic Sites Share PH Resource: Twitter 08 before class starts.

    Blog Comments 08 - Read and respond to three classmates' blog posts by Thursday at noon.

    Blog 08 Post by 11PM on Saturday.

    Week 10: 10/15-10/21
  • NO CLASS - list events
  • Share PH Resource: Twitter 09 no class but share by Thurs if interested.

    Blog Comments 09 - Read and respond to three classmates' blog posts by Thursday at noon.

    Blog 09 Post by 11PM on Saturday.

    Week 11: Th 10/25
  • Creative Inclusive Spaces: Race and Culture
  • History Skill Presenting Your Research
  • READ Amy Lonetree, Decolonizing Museums, Preface & Chapters 1-2, (p. xi-72).

    READ[Optional] Jenny Presnell, The Information-Literate Historian, chapter 12, "Presenting Your Research: Traditional Research Paper, Presentation, Poster, or Website?" (pg. 277-310).

    EXPLORE Diversity and Inclusion Webinar Share PH Resource: Twitter 10 before class starts.

    Blog Comments 10 - Read and respond to three classmates' blog posts by Thursday at noon.

    Blog 10 Post by 11PM on Saturday.

    Week 12: Th 11/1
  • Shared Authority: Who Writes Public History
  • History Skill Networking
  • READ Amy Lonetree, Decolonizing Museums, p. 73-176. EXPLORE TL 282/264 Share PH Resource: Twitter 11 before class starts.

    Blog Comments 11 - Read and respond to three classmates' blog posts by Thursday at noon.

    Blog 11 Post by 11PM on Saturday.

    Week 13: Th 11/8
  • Creative Inclusive Spaces: Embracing Racial and Cultural Diversity
  • History Skill Big Data

    READ[Optional] Jenny Presnell, The Information-Literate Historian, chapter 8, "Public History and Big Data" (pg. 191-198).

    EXPLORE TL 266/274 Share PH Resource: Twitter 12 before class starts.

    Blog Comments 12 - Read and respond to three classmates' blog posts by Thursday at noon.

    Blog 12 Post by 11PM on Saturday.

    Week 14: Th 11/15
  • Finding Jobs & Internships
  • Planning for What's Ahead
  • History Skill Writing Resumes & Cover Letters
  • History Skill Creating Portfolios
  • READ Faye Sayer, Public History, chapter 9, "Conclusion" (247-260). READ 281. Get to Work: Crafting Cover Letters and Résumés for Emerging Professionals Share PH Resource: Twitter 13 before class starts.

    Blog Comments 13 - Read and respond to three classmates' blog posts by Thursday at noon.

    Blog 13 Post by 11PM on Saturday.



    Component (click on labels for assignment overviews) Points per assignment Recommended Weeks to Complete Total
    Blogs Reflections and Analyses of Class Readings, Discussions, and Public History 50 10 500
    Blog Revisions Using instructors feedback revise blog posts to improve writing & portfolio 15
    Blog Comments Read and comment on at least 3 of your peers' blog posts each week 3 points per comment x 3 per week = 9 10 90
    Resources on Twitter Each week find one resource related to class themes or current events in public history to share with your peers. 10 11 110
    Final Class Project (& Project Drafts) Submit drafts and proposals for project as required. 200 x 200
    Participation Prepare for class, participate in class discussions and activities, active listening, be a good colleague. 15 12 180
    Portfolio Collect & Present artifacts of your Public History work 50 1 50
    Special Projects Complete Larger Scale Blog Posts or Special Interest Projects varies (50-150 points) x x
    TOTAL 1130


    The course will adhere to St. Mary's University grading scale: Undergraduate Grading Policies & Graduate Grading Policies

    Grading Scale

    Letter Grades are made up of a combination of points and article publication requirements.
    Grade Points Minimum Requirements
    A 1050 at least 9 blogs (or equivalent number of special projects), at least 20 comments, at least 8 twitter resources + portfolio
    A- 950 at least 8 blogs (or equivalent number of special projects), at least 20 comments, at least 8 twitter resources + portfolio
    B+ 900 at least 7 blogs (or equivalent number of special projects), at least 15 comments, at least 6 twitter resources + portfolio
    B 825 at least 6 blogs (or equivalent number of special projects), at least 15 comments, at least 6 twitter resources + portfolio
    B- 775 portfolio
    C+ 700
    C 625
    C- 575
    D 500
    F less than 500

    Class Policies


    Courtesy & Attendance
    My goal is for us to create a constructive learning environment where everyone feels comfortable sharing ideas and participating regularly. Therefore, I expect you to come on time and stay for the entire class period, listen attentively while others are speaking, and respect opinions other than your own. Chronic tardiness or absences will result in the lowering of your grade. This course adheres to St. Mary's University Attendance Policy - Students may receive a zero for any work missed due to an unexcused absence, and may be dropped for missing an equivalent of two weeks of classes

    Laptops and Mobile Devices
    Because this is a public/digital history class, please feel free to bring laptops and other devices to work on projects, take and consult notes, and to refer to any digital readings. However, if I feel laptops and tablets are becoming a distraction, you will be asked to put them away. I reserve the right to ban laptops and tablets if they become a problem. Except for extraordinary circumstances, I cannot see any reason why you would need to use a cell phone in class, so please put your phones away before class begins.

    Respect in Class and Online
    Because you will be given many opportunities to interact in person and online, please respect each other. No bullying or disrespect will be tolerated. If you are experiencing any problems, please let the instructor know, and we can work together to resolve any issues.

    Social Media
    On all social media accounts used in this course (blogs, Twitter), students are expected to uphold professional standards that meet university and professional codes of conduct.

    Assignments / Grading

    Due Dates
    Late work will not be accepted. Assignments submitted late will automatically receive no credit/zero points. Exceptions to this policy may occur in very rare cases (e.g. personal emergency or severe medical situations). These cases must be documented to my satisfaction and you must contact me before the due date.

    48-Hour Policy - Blogs/Project Steps
    With that said, I know things can get stressful during the semester, and to help you do your best work, I offer a 48-hour extension policy. Each student will get 48 hours that they can "spend" in 12 hour increments. You can only use this on blog assignments and on components of your final project (*not the final exam day deadline). To use this, email me before the assignment is due, letting me know you are using it, and after you have completed the assignment so I can mark it as done.

    Honor Code
    I take the university Honor Code very seriously, and I expect the same from you. Please make sure you are familiar with the guidelines regarding academic honesty, plagiarism, cheating, etc. The graded work you do in this class must be your own. In the case where you collaborate with other students make sure to fairly attribute their contribution to your project. Be sure to cite your sources to avoid issues of plagiarism and dishonesty. See me immediately if you have questions or doubts about what constitutes academic dishonesty, especially plagiarism. If an assignment is plagiarized in part or in full, the student receives a failing grade on that assignment and the incident will be reported to the Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences.

    Study Days and Exam Days Policy
    There will be two study days (November 28 and November 29) during which students prepare for final exams. No classes should be scheduled on study day; optional review sessions can be held. Final exams will be held on November 29 for Thursday night classes, November 30 through December 5th. The final exam schedule can be found under Related Links (last item on the list).


    If you have any questions or concerns throughout the semester, please see or call me immediately. I am here to help you learn, but it is your responsibility to address any issues you have concerning course content, assignments, and classroom dynamics. Do not risk your grade; if you are having problems, please come and talk me before it is too late.

    Syllabus Modifications
    This syllabus will serve as our guide throughout the semester, but may change, particularly as we identity digital skills we would like to pursue throughout the semester. I will alert you to any major changes made.

    University Policies
    St. Mary’s University is committed to providing a safe, equitable, and fair environment where students can pursue academic excellence. Policies and procedures have been developed to foster and sustain such an environment and apply to all courses offered at the
university. Students need to be aware of these policies and procedures, which can be found in Gateway, and within the “University Policies” tab of your course assigned Canvas page. Please become familiar with these important policies and procedures, which include:
  • Nondiscrimination, Sexual and Other Forms of Harassment
  • Students with Disability
  • Human Subjects Research.
  • Acknowledgments and license
    This syllabus borrows ideas from other history classes, including those taught by Leisl Carr Childers, Rebecca Wingo, and Jason Heppler.
    This syllabus and all assignments are copyrighted © 2018 Lindsey Wieck and licensed CC-Non-Commercial BY 4.0 . You are free to use or modify this syllabus for any non-commercial purpose, provided that you attribute it to the author, preferably at the course website listed above.


    Digital History Tools

    Carto - Mapping Big Data, Animating Time

    StoryMap JS - Mapping and Storytelling; integrating primary sources into maps

    Timeline JS

    Great Examples of Digital History Projects

    Stanford Spatial History Project

    Slate - 5 Great DH projects from 2015

    Cameron Blevins, Geography of the Post

    Making Maps / Doing Digital History

    The Programming Historian

    Workshops and other Resources by Lincoln Mullen

    Rice Digital History Resource Guides

    © 2018 Lindsey Passenger Wieck