Shaping Community Histories in Southern California: Public History as Practice 

Solicited by the OAH Committee on Part-Time, Adjunct and Contingent Employment (CPACE) Endorsed by the OAH Graduate Student Committee

Friday, March 31, 2023, 3:30 PM - 5:00 PM

Type: Roundtable Discussion

Tags: Professional Development; Public History and Memory; Social and Cultural


The Committee on Part-Time, Adjunct and Contingent Employment represents the interest of historians outside the tenure track who work in many institutional environments and as independent researchers in the field of public history. During the past decades Southern California has become a hotbed of public history from neighborhood-run small initiatives to well-established academic programs embedded in  universities.  The proposed panel will bring together historians teaching and practicing public history in and about Southern California, highlighting the social history of labor and ethnic communities, and the history of the natural environment.  The  workplaces of California public historians and the contexts in which innovative history projects are shaped will be an important theme of this panel. 

Session Participants

Chair: Catherine Allgor, Massachusetts Historical Society
Catherine Allgor is the president of the Massachusetts Historical Society and a historian of women in the early Republic. She received her Ph.D. from Yale University and is the author of numerous books, among them  Parlor Politics: In Which the Ladies of Washington Help Build a City and a Government (University Press of Virginia, 2000), and A Perfect Union: Dolley Madison and the Creation of the American Nation (Henry Holt, 2006). She currently serves on the Executive Board of the Organization of American Historians. 

Panelist: Sarah Case, UC Santa Barbara
Sarah Case is editor of The Public Historian and continuing lecturer in History at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she teaches courses public history, US women’s history, and the history of the US South

Panelist: Catherine Gudis, University of California, Riverside
Cathy Gudis is Associate Professor of History and Director of Public History at University of California, Riverside, where she holds a Pollitt Endowed Term Chair for Interdisciplinary Research and Learning. She also serves as scholar-in-residence at LA Poverty Department’s Skid Row History Museum & Archive.

Panelist: Caroline Luce, UCLA Institute for Research on Labor and Employment
Caroline Luce is a historian whose work sits at the intersection of labor history, Jewish studies, and digital humanities. Currently a researcher and lecturer with the UCLA Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, for ten years, she served as Chief Curator of Mapping Jewish LA, a project of the UCLA Leve Center for Jewish Studies, and consulted on a variety of collaborative projects with local non-profits. Her research specialty is immigration, labor, and working-class culture in the American West, and she is working on a book manuscript entitled, Yiddish in the Land of Sunshine: Jewish Radicalism, Labor and Culture in Los Angeles. She is also the chair of the Communications Committee of UC-AFT, the union that represents contingent faculty at the University of California.