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Competing Histories or Hidden Transcripts? The Sources We Use
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3/18/2019 at 3:41:36 PM GMT
Posts: 115
Competing Histories or Hidden Transcripts? The Sources We Use

By David Rotenstein ––

“In January, History@Work published Heather Carpini’s important essay on competing histories. Carpini’s appeal for historians to dig ‘deeper, past the obvious sources, into the lives of the people who shaped, and were shaped by, a certain place’ is an essential call to action. This values- and human-centered approach to historic preservation is gaining traction. In this essay, I want to address some of the pitfalls of digging deeper into community histories.

To do the essential work that Carpini recognized, public historians and historic preservationists need to rewrite the standard field manual that has crystallized over more than fifty years of production-line cultural resource management (CRM). Tight budgets and schedules, poorly trained fieldworkers, and implicit bias all play a role in reinforcing an approach to CRM that Richard Hutchings has described as the ‘McDonaldization of Heritage Stewardship.’ It’s going to take a lot more than recognizing that history is complicated; we need a substantial course correction.


To continue reading, visit the full article on NCPH History@Work’s website.

Rotenstein, David. “Competing Histories or Hidden Transcripts? The Sources We Use.” NCPH History@Work. (March 13, 2019). <>



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