February 24, 2015 by jeldredge1
My assigned tags for our review were: community history, memory, and public engagement. As expected, many of the article that I reviewed contained at least two of these tags. I will list the articles I reviewed in order of their posting.
6/29/2012 “Thoughts on completing my first major history project” This article by Vanessa Macias used all three tags and focused on how she completed a local museum exhibit as her first foray in public history outside of academia.
12/18/2012 “Unfamiliar Terrain: Reevaluating a landmark past” tagged both community history and public engagement, and in it, Joseph Cialdella discussed how the community can be brought into the process of a bureaucratic task like a national register nomination.
5/21/2013 “Project Showcase: Returning the voices to Kouchibouguac” mentioned memory and community history and looked at how a community that was uprooted in the process of creating a government park could introduce their own memories into the official project.
7/10/2013 “Insta Memory: Dismantling the Boston Marathon bombing memorial” by Matthew Barlow only tagged memory. It discusses the effects of instantaneous memory and how it changes over time, and the effects that removing a memorial may have on its context.
11/6/2013 “Cold War civil rights at Gettysburg” this article by Jill Titus also only tagged memory, and looked at how the memorials laid at Gettysburg have changed their associated meanings with the political tide.
5/21/2014 “Uncovering the hidden paradise of Guantanamo” tagged memory and community history; author Phillip Johnson looked at how different communities that lived at worked at Guantanamo Bay held different memories from the current events there.
10/16/2014 “Them” in Atlanta: A gentrification photo album” by David Rotenstein tagged community history, and dealt with the gentrification of the Old Fourth Ward and how a community in a certain time and place equals history.
10/22/2014 “Revealing slavery’s legacy at a public university in the South” by Kutzler, et al, looked at public history projects that were revealing slavery’s hidden past in the creation of college communities and memory, but only tagged memory.
11/3/2014 “Where are the citizen historians?” By Harry Klinkhamer compares scientific projects that utilize laypersons to contribute and questions where history can have parallels. It tags public engagement and community history.
1/27/2015 “More voices” in Boston’s public history” by Sarah Hudson tagged public engagement, and discussed how speakers from across Massachusetts were asked to present ways that heritage sites can expand on their interpretations.
I tried to cover a broad area of time in my analysis, and I clicked on each tag separately to find the articles. However, these three topics, and especially public engagement and community history were so intertwined, that clicking on one tag would almost certainly lead one to all the articles. I would even suggest that public engagement could be eliminated without any loss of article location for a searcher. Memory is a more tricky tag, which covered such issues as contested memory, memory creation over time, and differences in memory. I would suggest tags that elaborated on memory, like ‘contested memory’ or ‘memory creation’. I don’t see a clear change in these tags’ meanings or use over time; they all seem to be used to discuss ways that professional historians can include a broader audience and a wider group of memories and personal histories in their projects, such as the articles on the Kouchibouguac, Guantanamo Bay, and Boston’s public history. The other major theme of these articles is the methods that different communities use to create their own history and memory, like the articles on gentrification in Atlanta, Gettysburg monuments, and the Boston Marathon bombing. Each of these tags would be useful to a layperson in finding such articles, but I could see that the streamlining I addressed above would create a more useful and pointed search for historians. We understand that memory can be a complicated issue with different meanings attached to the word, and tags that specify different uses of this word could be more helpful.