Public Past : History, Meaning and Society
The Public Past is an examination of the different areas of public history and the wide and diverse range of relationships between the past and the public at large in contemporary society. Exploring the ways in which the past’s narratives are presented, and the ways in which they are received by the public, Helen Weinstein and Adam Gutteridge centre on one theme: the idea of a participated past, a public discourse created by doing, in which the wider public at large become agents involved in the creation, investigation, and enjoyment of historical narratives, rather than merely passive recipients. This thematic focus opens into an investigation of the ways in which the past is used for individuals and communities to negotiate identities, tell stories, and help people understand and interact with the worlds they build around them, predicated on and negotiated through historical narratives.
Chapters engage with issues such as the definitions of public history, history and identity, the past and the media and the impact of the rise of re-enactment. A series of international case studies as used to dissect these questions, including, Community heritage projects, Television programmes such as Simon Schama’s A History of Britain and America: the Story of Us and Museums and Exhibitions such as Abolition/Slavery Commemorative exhibitions and Holocaust Museums
An essential guide to all students of public history and its influence.