As a public historian, I fully believe that history is useless without action

Boston Tea Party

Overview: As a public historian, I fully believe that history is useless without action. It’s not enough to just know about a topic; you need to make people care about and do something with that knowledge. For your final, I want YOU to be a public historian. Figure out a way to make people care or do regarding your Midterm topic and thesis. How do you want your research impact the world? How do you want that knowledge to inspire change? “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

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1) For the first part of your final you need to assess the current/recent social and cultural understanding of your thesis. This will help you know if your method for creating action has already been done and other relevant information to help you “fine-tune” your method of change or desired impact. Examples (not limits) of lines of questioning for this section…..

  • Do your secondary sources give you ideas for creating relevancy? How so? How not? Do your secondary sources influence your desired action? Why? How?
  • What are “people” saying about your topic/thesis? Who are these “people”? Why are they important? NOT a review of secondary sources, that was the midterm. What are non-academic people saying? How/where are they saying it? Why?
  • Is your topic trending? Is your thesis trending in relation? If yes, why? If no, why not? How can either situation be beneficial or damaging to your plan of action.
  • Is there competition in your realm of action (ie. has it been done before? by whom? why?)? Is this a pro or con? Does it help or hurt your desired action? How so? Why?
  • Are there any current topics/trends/issues that could help/hurt your message delivery and action plan? How? Why?
  • Who are your most relevant audiences? How do you best reach them? How do you best get them to translate reach to action?

2) The second part of your final should be a fairly detailed description/plan for creating impact/action in society.

  • Use your secondary sources to help fill-in the content of your messaging plan.
  • How do you assess relevancy/impact? What is relevancy today? You can pitch action, but if you’re not aware of how to assess action – what’s the point?
  • Make sure it’s practical. Don’t worry about budgets, but make sure your strategy for action makes sense. (ex. TikTok dances to raise awareness about serious issues like paternalism, violence, rape, torture, enslavement Do not (to me), at first, seem like appropriate methods of action for such concerning topics. I can be proven wrong, though, that’s why we’re doing this project!)
  • Make sure it’s relevant. Don’t pitch a museum if you really don’t think a museum will work. I want a method you legitimately think will create change today or in the near-future – not 35 years ago.
  • How will this method create the change you want to see? 
  • How do(es) your relevant audience(s) impact/influence your method and plan? Do they? If not, why? If so, how?

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