Public History Courses
Oral Histories of Folk Medicine: Native American, African American, Creole and Cajun Practices of Healing
This course will provide an overview of the global history of medicine from the early modern to modern period, We will then focus on the rise of modern medicine and its efforts to suppress long standing healing practices of various communities, particularly in the Deep South. Students will also be trained in oral history methods, use the resources of the Guilbeau Center for Public History to collect oral histories from Native American, African American, Creole and Cajun community members. Students will publish podcasts, form an oral history collection for the Guilbeau Center and design a digital website on the histories of healing.
PUBLIC HISTORY OF SLAVERY IN LOUISIANA
GUEST SPEAKERS, VISITS TO KEY HISTORIC SITES, AND WORK WITH LOCAL MUSEUMS WILL HELP STUDENTS UNDERSTAND THE DEEP HISTORY OF ENSLAVEMENT IN LAFAYETTE AND LOUISIANA. STUDENTS WILL PARTICIPATE IN A CONFERENCE ON THE PUBLIC HISTORY OF SLAVERY AND HELP CURATE AN EXHIBIT THAT WILL BE FEATURED AT VERMILIONVILLE.
HERITAGE AND MEMORY IN HISTORY MUSEUMS
This class examines museums and memorials that represent heritage, history and memory. How do some heritages come to be memorialized and institutionalized and others excluded? Case studies from different regions and social contexts will be explored including conflict heritage, minority heritage, indigenous heritage sites of conscience, the relationship between heritage, development and tourism to history museums and memorials. Considering cultural institutions as diverse as Colonial Williamsburg, immigration museums in the US, Slavery museums in Africa, Holocaust museums in Europe, and museums of Native American history and culture, we seek out common themes and problems that provide opportunities for growth in institutional representations of the past. Topics covered include: authenticity, race, cultural property, nationalism, interpretation, multivocality, contact zones, multiculturalism and community outreach. Our objective is to examine the connections and distinctions between the theory and practice of exhibiting history and to understand how material culture, social process and historical events converge in the social production of collections and institutions. Our focus is on museums not merely as containers of history, but as social arenas that influence and determine the politics, value and experience of the past. Students will develop a theoretical toolkit for contextualizing and addressing controversies in the heritage industry of cultural institutions.
Historic Sites and the Politics of Preservation: Native American and African American Public History
Students who complete this course will review 150 years of preservation projects in the U.S., a movement that has not only saved historic houses, but established the national park system and documented the nation's heterogeneous history. Students will encounter powerful, evocative interpretive projects, contemporary battles over preservation, innovative approaches to programming and community formation, as well as failed attempts to preserve public space. Students will discuss the controversies surrounding these spaces, paying particular attention to the social and political context in which both the original use and reuse of historic space took place. With a focus on which histories have been preserved by the government as part of the national narrative and which have been ignored, we will examine strategies for proposing new historical sites. In what contexts have African American and Native American histories succeeded in being preserved? What were the issues debated by community members and government officials around contested sites? The course is organized into three themes: (1) types of historic sites and cultural landscapes, (2) processes of preservation, and (3) activating historic sites. Assignments include proposing new historical sites and creating a walking tour of historic sites in the city.