Applied History Today

In: Journal of Applied History
Author: David Lowe 1
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  • 1 Deakin University, Contemporary Histories Research Group, Australia

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Does applied history have an image problem? At first glance, there are signs that it might, but I will suggest in this essay that the considered view is more promising. Partly on account of the formidable policy questions facing us, on global, national and transnational levels, there is a growing appetite for ‘usable’ forms of history, and historians are organizing with a number of constructive responses. The earlier interest in applied history as a means to better statesmanship has now been joined by a productively pluralist approach to the types of policy to which history might be applied. This welcome trend is perhaps the most important thing to note about applied history today. It also reflects the urgency of problems across a broad spectrum of public policy. Conditions now seem more welcoming of public-facing historians writing from multiple perspectives and writing to help think through the state we are in.

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