CFP: Challenging Assumptions Through Public History

Madeline DeDe-Panken's picture

The CUNY Public History Collective Second Annual Conference 

It's Not What You Think: Challenging Assumptions Through Public History

November 17, 2017 -- The CUNY Graduate Center

The Public History Collective (PHC), an interdisciplinary group based in the history program at the City University of New York Graduate Center, invites proposals for our second annual conference, to be held on Friday, November 17, 2017. The PHC welcomes proposals of 500 words or less that engage with this year's conference theme: "It's Not What You Think: Challenging Assumptions Through Public History." Submissions may include individual papers/presentations, complete panels, workshops, or other nontraditional formats. 

This year's conference will consider the ways in which the assumptions that our audiences bring with them affect the stories we choose to tell. Visitors to museums, cultural institutions, archives, and other public history sites often come with preconceived assumptions about our past shaped by distant experiences of high school courses, patriotic political rhetoric, or popular myth. How can public historians challenge these myths and articulate new narratives while living up to the expectations of the public in a diverse and increasingly polarized country? How can the form and function of public history sites be used to expand conceptions of what spaces should look like and who they should engage with? Overall, how can public history be a tool for challenging previous knowledge, complicating beliefs, reversing expectations, broadening perspectives, righting wrongs, and presenting a more honest history? 

Submissions due Friday, September 15, 2017 to Please attach as a single document.

Please direct questions to conference chair Madeline DeDe-Panken at This event is sponsored by the Center for the Humanities.

The Public History Collective is an interdisciplinary student-led group based in the history program at the CUNY Graduate Center. We are committed to bridging the worlds of public history and academia. We aim to increase graduate student participation in archives, museums, and other public history institutions, and to use that experience to broaden the methods with which we teach and do academic work. Learn more about our work at

Categories: CFP
Keywords: public history