History and the Public

Public Humanities at Yale approaches the relationship between history and the public as a two-way street:  it is not merely a matter of presenting ivory-tower academic work to ”the public,” but of also of developing historical knowledge in critical dialogue with that public.  In addition to studying the elements of public historical work that are stressed in traditional Public History units–exhibition, design, public writing, archives–students are encouraged to engage oral history and ethnography as critical tools for a dialogic historical practice.  In addition to regular courses offered in Oral History, Ethnography, Public Memory, and Community Studies, the Ethnography and Oral History Working Group has been an important setting for developing and sharing this work.