Introductory Course: History and the Public

What is the relationship between knowledge produced in the university and the circulation of ideas among a broader public, between academic expertise on the one hand and non-professionalized ways of knowing and thinking on the other? This seminar provides an introduction to various institutional relations and to the modes of inquiry, interpretation, and presentation by which practitioners in the humanities seek to invigorate the flow of information and ideas among a public more broadly conceived than the academy, its classrooms, and its exclusive readership of specialists. The course is organized around the six pillars (topical concentrations) structuring the public humanities program at Yale: museums and collections; space and place; history and the public; public art; documentary; digital humanities. In addition to core readings and discussions, the seminar includes presentations by practitioners who are currently engaged in different aspects of the public humanities. Participants also collaborate in developing an installation and virtual exhibit devoted to some aspect(s) of New Haven culture, politics, history, etc.