How digital is the future of public history?

Donnerstag, 6. Juni
17:30 bis 19:00 Uhr
Raum KOL-F-104

The Internet not only changes the research tools of historians, it also opens up new possibilities of dialogue with the public. In recent years, academic researchers have used the Web to gain direct access to users and thus override traditional "gatekeepers" (such as the press, radio, television, or academic publishers). The Geschichte der Gegenwart platform is a successful example of this trend. For well over a decade, successful historical platforms created by non-academics have also been established in digital space. Initiatives such as the Twitter account historyinpics, the Youtube channel Alternate History Hub or the @historypage on Instagram reach millions of users every day. Presenting themselves as spaces for "history fans", they sometimes claim to pursue ambitious didactic goals but are often criticized for not providing enough contextual analysis. How should professional historians deal with these unfiltered forms of popular “historytelling” with which new generations regularly come into contact on social networks? Is it necessary to drastically reform the working methods and publishing standards of historical research in order to make academic knowledge more accessible and participatory? And is there a future for public history beyond the digital? Another aim of this panorama, indeed, is the discussion of innovative options for ensuring a lively exchange between history and society in which historical materiality is not limited to virtual space.

Françoise Briegel (Université de Genève) is the co-director of the Festival Histoire et Cité and starred in an episode of the TV series “The Historians”; Alwyn Collinson is a digital editor at the National Museum London and founder of the Twitter account @RealTimeWWII, in which he describes the events of World War II through tweets; Gesine Krüger (Universität Zürich) is one of the editors of the blog “Geschichte der Gegenwart”, which regularly publishes articles about current political topics and historical events; Florian Wittig is one of the producers of Real Time History, a production firm specialising in historical documentations. He is also a founder of the YouTube channels “Einfach Geschichte” and “The Great War”; Antoine Acker (Universität Zürich), a historian of Brazil, will lead the discussion.