CFP: The Ever Present Past: How Public History Informs the Present, deadline 18th September


    Deadline: 18thSeptember 2017

    The Ever Present Past: How Public History Informs the Present
    at University of Essex Colchester Campus  Colchester, CO4 3SQ
    Sat 14 October 2017
    09:00 – 16:45 BST

    In today’s world, history seems ever present. Whether through mass media, anniversaries, politics, digital representations or museums, the past is forever influencing and informing the modern world. For example, only recently we have seen the impact of notions of historical national identity being used throughout the world in political campaigns, most notably in Donald Trump’s slogan, ‘make America great again’. As academics it is therefore important that we explore and understand the role the past plays in modern societies, particularly how the past is used in the present and how the public engage with the past. As a result we may also consider the role of academics in shaping the portrayal of history. This conference therefore invites speakers and attendees to consider the influence of Public History, and their own role, in shaping the ever present past.

    Questions and ideas for further discussion may include, but are not limited to:

    • What are the roles and responsibilities of academics in informing knowledge of the past? Have these roles and responsibilities changed? What role do we want in society? How does our research reach the public and inform the present?
    • What is Public History? How do we define and recognise it? What forms may Public History take?
    • How does the modern world influence which histories are recalled? How and why may these histories be used? What is the role of academics and institutions in informing this knowledge of the past?
    • Is there any evidence of Hero and Villain type mentalities in Public History, and if so, are there any problems with such approaches?
    • To what extent does Public History have a role in shaping ideas of local and national identity? Are there instances of histories being forgotten on a national scale, yet which remain pivotal to local identities? To what extent are local and national identities based on historical ‘myth’ or exaggeration?

    Abstracts should be 300 words in length, for twenty minute papers, submitted with the title of the paper and name of your institution, along with a list of keywords and a short biography (including your degree and research interests), to September 18th. This event is free to attend, with refreshments provided. There is also £35 available for each speaker to assist with travel costs. If you would like to attend then please register at Eventbrite by Friday 29 September.

    For those interested, the Royal Historical Society, in cooperation with the IHR’s Public History Seminar and the Historical Association, has opened its Public History Prize. This includes the awarding of two student prizes, one for an undergraduate student, and one for a postgraduate student. The deadline for submissions is 30 November 2017. The prize will be awarded in January 2018. For more information see,

    Eventbrite page is here: