The Public Historian Looks at LGBTQ Public History and More

The latest issue of The Public Historian, the journal of the National Council on Public History (NCPH), is all about bringing buried histories to the surface. The three feature articles in this issue look at work being done by those who identify as public historians, and by those who don’t, to bring these untold stories to light.

The February 2017 issue opens with an article by Rachel Hatcher that studies the street art of Guatemala that challenges official narratives about that nation’s long internal war and vividly makes public the state’s, and economic elites’, responsibility for the violence. Gregory Rosenthal’s article on the Southwest Virginia LGBTQ+ History Project and its work to “Make Roanoke Queer Again” follows. Rosenthal’s project reminds us the LGBTQ people have always inhabited our cities, and that there is evidence of this history all around us if we open our eyes to it. In reclaiming this queer past, Rosenthal and others also challenge contemporary efforts to LGBTQ rights. Finally, Rachel Donaldson looks at how working-class history has been interpreted—or not—at several National Register industrial history sites and calls for the a reexamination of the statements of significance put forth in their nomination applications. Significance, she argues, can be found not only in stories of technology or industrial leaders, but in the stories of the workers, their struggles, and their institutions.

To continue discussion around some of the themes of this issue, The Public Historian has commissioned a number of blog posts that respond to Rosenthal’s article on LGBTQ public history and that discuss other community-based LGBTQ history projects that will be published on the NCPH’s History@Work blog.  Rosenthal starts out the series with his post, “Reclaiming Queer Historical Space.” Other posts will appear in the weeks to come, so keep checking back!

The issue also includes a wide variety of exhibit and book reviews. Editorial offices for The Public Historian are located at UC Santa Barbara and at MARCH at Rutgers–Camden.

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