Isaev E. M. Public history in Russia: academic and educational context of the formation of a new interdisciplinary field (.pdf)


Public history (PH) as a concept and movement emerged in the United States in the 1970s. It has become an academic field that provides opportunities for the representatives of the Humanities, academic community and the museum staff to establish communication ties. With the help of PH, historians became able to communicate with the society and, as a result, came into the public sphere. Public history is a relatively new area of knowledge in Russia - it appeared in 2012–2013 with the emergence of the first Master's program in the Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences and, in what follows, conferences and round tables. The article discusses the development of public history in Russia. It is based on a review and analysis of academic literature and is aimed at understanding and exploring this new academic field. After analyzing the academic discourse on the current problems of historical science and the role of public history in the process of developing new ways of communication, the author comes to the following conclusions. The contemporary academic community is facing the problems of understanding how the audience showing today an increasing interest in history looks like. Besides, the field struggles with the problems of the “academic vs popular” languages and difficulties with the translation of historians’ texts. There is also a lack of direct communication between those creating a variety of historical products, such as teachers, employees of museums, filmmakers, media, etc., on the one hand, and historians, on the other hand. The result of the analysis, along with the post-Soviet “hereditary” problems of confidence in the subject of history, allows us to speak about the crisis of professional historical community as an expert in public sphere.


Key words: public history, collective memory, politics of memory, public sphere, popular history.


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