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Reviews are an important feature of each issue of The Public HistorianThe Public Historian assesses current publications and projects by and of interest to public historians, including print publications, physical and virtual exhibits, films and media productions, and digital projects. The journal reviews work that receives wide public attention as well as work in smaller institutions. Our goal is to help recognize excellence, create critical dialogue, and engage public historians in a reflexive process of analysis of public history practice. Although reviews will naturally reflect upon the audience experience, they also focus on the reviewed works’ significance for public historians in particular.

The Public Historian does not accept unsolicited reviews, but the editors do welcome suggestions for publications and projects to review. Please send suggestions to the Assistant Reviews Editor.

If you are interested in becoming a reviewer, please complete our Reviewer Application.


Book Reviews

In our book review section, The Public Historian assesses current publications by and of interest to public historians, including government publications, cultural resources management reports, and corporate histories, as well as selected scholarly press publications. Our reviewers consider such questions as: Who is the intended audience of the work (a client, the general public, professionals in the same field, in other fields)? What is the purpose of the work? Was the work produced under special conditions (under contract, in the course of public agency employment, as part of an educational program)? How does it fit within a body of scholarship? In what ways are the author’s sources, methods, analysis, and interpretations remarkable and especially instructive for public historians? See our book review guidelines for more information.

Publishers please send review copies to:

Assistant Reviews Editor
The Public Historian
Department of History
University of California Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-9410

Exhibit Reviews

The exhibit review section of The Public Historian was established to report on and evaluate current historical exhibits, including performances, living history, and historical built environments. Exhibit reviews are an archival record of what are often ephemeral projects and, equally important, they are a means of critically engaging with issues of exhibition. Exhibit reviews are analytical rather than descriptive in nature. The journal reviews both exhibits that receive wide public attention (e.g., exhibits in large nationally known museums) and works in smaller institutions and other contexts, such as community or neighborhood centers. This section contains a mix of single-item reviews and multi-item review essays, as well as thematic or comparative essays focusing on regions, special-interest audiences, or methodological issues. See our exhibit and museum reviews and review essays information here.

Film and Media Reviews

The film and media review section of The Public Historian was established to report on and evaluate current historical feature films, documentaries, radio programs, and television productions. The journal reviews materials that receive wide public attention (i.e., nationally available films) along with works with a smaller audience and distribution. This section contains a mix of single-item reviews and multi-item review essays. See our film and media reviews and review essays information here.

Digital Project Reviews

The digital history project review section of The Public Historian reports on and evaluates current digital history projects, including digital exhibits, online archives, digital scholarship, online teaching resources, and apps, with the goal of recognizing excellence in this important new format for scholarship and public engagement and creating critical dialogue among public historians about the uses of technology in our work. See our digital history project reviews and review essays information hereThe Public Historian recognizes the following categories of digital resources:

  • Online Archive: A website that provides access, whether free or otherwise, to a body of primary source documents.
  • Digital Scholarship: An online monograph, essay, or journal aimed at disseminating history scholarship to either fellow practitioners or the general public.
  • Digital Exhibit: A digital exhibit aimed at presenting historical topics and/or knowledge to the general public.
  • Teaching Resource: A website that provides online syllabi, assignments, teaching tools, and other resources specifically geared toward using the Web for pedagogical purposes.

Podcasts and Blogs

Podcasts and blogs are a special category of digital publication. Podcasts are often episodic series, while blogs provide periodic short essays online and generally offer the opportunity for comment. Both often allow listeners/readers to subscribe or follow. They can be produced by a single individual, a group, or an organization. See our podcast and blog reviews and review essays information here.

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