Initiatives

In addition to its current theme, the Institute embraces ongoing initiatives in public and global history.

Public History Initiative (PHI)

In both method and subject, public history involves broadening the definition of historical investigation and historical topics through collaborative practices. The Institute's Public History Initiative (PHI) aims to contribute to the theory and practice of public history, both bringing history to the widest possible audience and critiquing the ways history is produced and consumed, for and by “publics.” Mindful of our geographical location in southeast lower Michigan, the PHI will explore social, political, environmental, and economic issues that are particularly resonant in this historical moment and that align with the Institute's current theme. The approaches of public history can also be applied to other regions and time periods, since one of the central goals of the initiative is to make scholarly findings as accessible as possible, recognizing that different constituencies engage the past in myriad ways.

To this end, the PHI will bring speakers who are conducting innovative work in public history. It will encourage historians to reach beyond disciplinary boundaries, too, collaborating with other groups, including other professionals, to document and analyze their own histories. Finally, the PHI will facilitate cooperation between academic historians and other educators to cultivate a reflective, integrated approach to the teaching and learning of history, both in classroom (K-16) settings as well as with adult audiences. We will also harness opportunities for partnerships with museums, historical societies, and preservation groups to contribute to a more sophisticated historical discourse in American popular culture.

Global History Initiative (GHI)

The Global History Initiative (GHI) grew from the May, 2009 Seminar “Teaching and Thinking in Global Dimensions.” It is our hope that the GHI will aid and inform faculty and graduate students in sustaining future initiatives in global and world history; generating new proposals for new undergraduate and graduate courses in world history or adding global dimensions to existing courses; helping to prepare graduate students for an academic job market that increasingly calls for applicants with training in global/world history; drawing attention to the particular pedagogical challenges of teaching history beyond national frameworks; encouraging stronger connections among units on campus responsible for preparing K-12 teachers of history and the social sciences; and increasing opportunities to extend outreach to practicing Michigan area teachers in world history.