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The Public Historian, is a quarterly journal sponsored by the National Council on Public History and the University of California, Santa Barbara, and is published by the University of California Press. It is the flagship journal in the field of public history. It emphasizes original research, fresh conceptualizations, and new viewpoints. The journal’s contents reflect the considerable diversity of approaches to the definition and practice of public history.

The Public Historian provides practicing professionals and others the opportunity to report the results of research and case studies and to address the broad substantive and theoretical issues inherent in the practice of public history. The journal aims to provide a comprehensive look at the field.

The Public Historian publishes a variety of article types, including research articles, essays, and reports from the field. Research articles deal with specific, often comparatively framed, public historical issues. They employ public history methodologies (material culture analysis, oral history, participant observation) in addition to traditional historical research to shed new light on historical questions and issues. These articles should be around thirty pages double-spaced, exclusive of footnotes (about 10,000 to 12,000 words). Essays are reflective commentaries on topics of interest to public historians. Their length varies, but they are usually about twenty-five pages. Reports from the Field are intended to convey the real-world work of public historians by highlighting specific projects or activities in which the author is directly involved; these articles may describe new or ongoing projects, introduce or assess new methodologies, or bring in-the-field dilemmas (methodological, ethical, and historical) into print. Reports from the Field vary widely in length (from about fifteen to thirty pages). Additionally, The Public Historian occasionally publishes roundtables, which are shorter essays in conversation with each other about a specific topic.

In its 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 scholarly and trade press publications. The journal also reviews films and documentaries, digital and electronic media productions, museums, exhibitions, and podcasts. We do not accept unsolicited reviews; we do, however, welcome suggestions for material to review (please email [email protected]). If you are interested in becoming a reviewer, please visit the Reviewer page.

The editors welcome the submission of manuscripts by all those interested in the theory, teaching, and practice of public history, both in the United States and internationally. We are looking for manuscripts that make a significant contribution to the definition, understanding, and/or professional and intellectual progress of the field of public history. We conceive of the term public history broadly, as involving historical research, analysis, and presentation, with some degree of explicit application to the needs of contemporary life.

Research articles, essays, and reports from the field are subject to anonymous peer review and revisions will be suggested before the editors will accept an article for publication.

Only manuscripts not previously published will be accepted. Submitted articles must not be under consideration at another journal. Authors must agree not to publish elsewhere, without explicit written consent, an article accepted for publication in The Public Historian.

The Public Historian encourages letters to the editor that expand the discussion of topics covered in the journal. If a letter specifically concerns an article or review published in The Public Historian, the author or reviewer will be invited to respond. Letters responding to reviews may not exceed 250 words; letters responding to articles may not exceed 750 words. The editors reserve the right to refuse to publish any letter whose tone or content are inconsistent with the conventional standards of scholarly discourse expected in a historical journal.

Please note that all authors whose papers are accepted for publication are required to sign an Author Agreement.

Please submit manuscripts and letters to the editors by email to the editor at the address below.

See guidelines here.


Editorial Offices:
Sarah H. Case, Editor (UC Santa Barbara) 
Teresa Barnett, Special Editor (independent historian)
Jennifer Dickey, Book Review Editor (Kennesaw State University)
Jennifer Scott, Museum and Exhibitions Editor (Urban Civil Rights Museum in Harlem)
Taylor Stoermer, Film and Digital Editor (Johns Hopkins University)

Contact: Sarah Case, Editor
Department of History
University of California
Santa Barbara, California 93106
E-mail: [email protected]


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