University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota

The Hot History Lab: Liz Ševčenko, April 2013

The Hot History Lab: Experiments in How Humanities Students Can Open National Dialogue on Our Most Contested Issues

Join Liz Ševčenko to help imagine a new national collaboration to build public memory and civic engagement – led by students in the humanities.  The discussion will begin with lessons from the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience, a network of museums around the world interpreting difficult histories and confronting their contemporary legacies.  It will follow with reflections on the Guantánamo Public Memory Project (GPMP), which brought together over 100 students from a dozen universities – including UMN – to create a traveling exhibit, web platform, video testimonies, and public dialogues on the long history of the US naval base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, before and after 9-11.  The Project opened new teaching models for public humanities, integrating new skills from digital innovation to dialogue facilitation.  It also opened a new space for building public memory:  the experience suggested that student-led projects may be able to make bolder experiments in what issues they take on and how they engage visitors than many museums can.  Now the university partners are considering replicating the GPMP model to take on other issues, such as immigration, or mass incarceration.  This event will serve as a preliminary brainstorming workshop to imagine what a National Humanities for Social Engagement Lab could look like.

Available for download as audio (.mp3, 40.5MB) or video (.m4v, 202.8MB).


Available for download as audio (.mp3, 31.3MB) or video (.m4v, 164.8MB).

Heritage Studies

As a multi-disciplinary field, heritage studies draws upon disciplines as diverse as anthropology, art history, historic preservation, cultural studies, tourism studies, planning and more. Recently, scholars and practitioners have opened a dialogue about ways to identify, interpret, and conserve a broader range of heritage resources, and the field is beginning to investigate manifestations of heritage that are neither static, fixed, or contiguous.

Following on the connections made in 2009-2010′s Locating Heritage Collaborative, the Teaching Heritage Collaborative seeks to investigate the prospects and possibilities of a more formalized program of research and education drawing upon the diverse voices about heritage at the University. Heritage is a term which has come to encompass the objects/subjects of study, protection, preservation and education across a wide range of disciplines. Until relatively recently, topics as diverse as landscapes, histories, folk art, archaeological remains, archives, architecture and the built environment, natural environment, languages, and traditional cultural practices were studied and protected by specialized practitioners and communities. Scholars in those fields now recognize the significant elision or interdigitation of concepts previously approached as distinct realms, like culture and nature, social memory and history, past and present.

This event was recorded April 25, 2013, 4:00 pm in Nolte 125.

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