For a New International Public History

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Thomas Cauvin


Proposed in the United States of America in the 1970s, the term “public history” is now used in various parts of the world. The internationalization of the field of public history raises various questions about its definition, its practices, and its theories. Based on sometimes long-established practices, public history reflects new approaches to audiences, collaboration and authority in history production. The article distinguishes and analyses the different phases of internationalization in the 1970s, 1990s, and 2010s and argues for a new international public history. Instead of a spread of public history, the new internationalization lies upon multicultural approaches and understandings of the field. Symbolized by the rise of public history in Italy, the glocal process of defining and practicing public history – where the local practices and theories relate and influence global definitions – provides more nuanced and richer understandings of the field. The new internationalization has concrete consequences on the public history structures, resources, languages, and projects.      

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Author Biography

Thomas Cauvin, Université du Luxembourg

Thomas Cauvin is in charge of Public History as the new Citizen Science of the Past (PHACS) and Head of the 'Public History and Outreach' Research Area at the Luxembourg Centre for Contemporary and Digital History (C²DH). Recipient of the ATTRACT fellowship (funded by the Fond National de la Recherche), he is Associate Professor of Public History at the University of Luxembourg.