"We’re History": The Process of Making Scholarly History Available to All

Todd Arrington, National Park Service (@werehist)

Heather Cox Richardson, Boston College (@hc_richardson)

Joshua Rothman, University of Alabama (@rothmanistan)

Picture of an American Flag behind a weathered window.

Photo by Max Sulik on Unsplash

This session will take place at the 2020 OAH Annual Meeting | Conference on American History in Washington, D.C. Read the full abstract and speaker information here.

We’re History is an online magazine that seeks to make scholarly history accessible to the public. It features rigorously edited articles on all eras of American history written by scholars, graduate students, public historians, and others both inside and outside of academia. The site is edited, maintained, and publicized by an all-volunteer team committed to the idea that history—with all its triumphs, failures, twists, and ironies—has made us who we are.

This session will feature three of We’re History’s co-editors speaking about the challenges of making academic history available to the public and the need to do so during politically charged and disheartening times like these. They will also address some of the difficulties of creating a site with no funding behind it and soliciting articles from talented writers and historians without offering payment. Topics like editing, establishing a social media presence, and others will be discussed.

Attendees will learn a great deal about the “nuts and bolts” of creating and publicizing an online history magazine, editing articles down to no more than 1.300 words, and how the We’re History team uses social media to drive traffic to the website.

The internet presents a blank slate for historians and scholars to publish their work and reach new audiences. However, it also gives the same blank slate to those pushing hateful agendas and deliberate misinformation. As more of the latter invade online space, sites like We’re History become increasingly important as outlets for accurate, factual explorations of the good and bad of American history. We’re History is also valuable as a place that gives graduate students, young scholars, and those outside the academy the opportunity to publish their work to both scholarly and popular audiences.

We’re History is found at werehistory.org as @werehist on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Posted: March 12, 2020
Tagged: Previews, Conference, Public History, Around the Profession