Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 30 May 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The focus of this article is public oral history. Public history is a “slippery concept.” Perhaps the simplest definition of public history is that it describes a set of procedures undertaken by historians who are not employed in academic institutions. Within this definition, at least for some, funding is an important element that distinguishes public from academic history. Public history, Valerie Yow has argued, is “commissioned research in special communities,” so that “the targeted audience is the commissioner or the commissioner's chosen readers—not necessarily other scholars.” Public history might therefore describe the production of historical interpretations that are intended for consumption by particular audiences. It has been argued that this is an important difference: while academic historians write for one another, public historians are interpreting the past for a wider audience. Across the globe there are differences in the ways that public history is understood as unfolded in this article.

Keywords: oral history, public oral history, slippery concept, public history, academic history, academic historian

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.