Public History Initiative

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The Cornell Public History Initiative (CPHI), launched in fall 2019, works to stimulate and deepen dialogue among undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, staff, and their wider communities about the sedimented histories that shape our contemporary world.

Public history is any form of historical engagement that moves beyond the traditional classroom and scholarly publication. Public history can include monuments, museum and digital exhibits, oral history, historical preservation, walking tours, performance, documentary film, and other media projects.

The CPHI asks students to think critically about diverse modes of historical learning and storytelling and the many ways historical knowledge circulates in public life: Whose histories are privileged and silenced? What strategies can we use to uncover and share knowledge of the past? How does history shape experiences of identity and community? And how can public history help us to better understand society and politics today?

The CPHI specifically works to engage the Cornell community through a range of courses, undergraduate and graduate fellowships, as well as an ongoing lecture series.

Please email questions about the CPHI to CPHI director, Professor Stephen Vider, at