PHW Conferences

Image Credits: Manfred Werner, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons


PHW Conferences



Political Activism in and through Public History


2nd Public History Weekly World Conference

September 1 – 3, 2023

Our hybrid conference at the famous Vienna Volkskundemuseum with renowned speakers representing public history research from 18 countries and 5 continents is dedicated to a highly topical issue: all over the world, scholarly-based and necessarily differentiated recounts of the past are attacked and challenged by political interest groups. This happens in many ways and often highly professionally in diverse media formats. How does one deal with this as a university teacher and researcher of public history? Should one act in a decidedly political way or maintain a strictly analytical position (to name two extreme positions)? What can we learn from successful practical examples? Could we agree on criteria? In the end, are public historians necessarily also activists of rational storytelling?

We invite our readers to join our conference virtually via livestreams, and take part in the discussions on Twitter under the hashtag #PHWConf23. Your tweets will be displayed live on a Twitter Wall, and the conference speakers will be able to directly respond to them.

The conference is being held to mark the 10th anniversary of the first publication of Public History Weekly. The Open Peer Review Journal.

Venue: Volkskundemuseum Wien

Organisers: Marko Demantowsky and Thomas Hellmuth

Staff members: Michael Hollogschwandtner and Barbara Pavlek Löbl (co-ordination), Iman Elghonemi, Kristina Langeder-Höll, Lorenz Prager, David Praschak, Emily Stüber, Josephine Engelmeier

Supported by:

  • PHW Friends’ Association (Basel, CH)
  • Faculty for Historical and Cultural Studies of University of Vienna
  • School of Educaction FHNW, Basel, Switzerland

The Twitter hashtag for live interaction with the conference is: #PHWConf23


Keynote Speakers

Prof. Clarissa Ceglio

Clarissa Ceglio, PhD, is Associate Professor of Digital Humanities at the University of Connecticut, where she is also Associate Director of Research for Greenhouse Studios / Scholarly Communications Design. Her research interests are museum history and material culture studies, particularly as these relate to concepts of civic identity across the 20th century. She also collaborates with museums and archives on digital public history research projects. Ceglio came to academia after a career in communications. She is a contributor to the open access volume Radical Roots: Public History and Social Justice (2021) and author of A Cultural Arsenal for Democracy: The World War II Work of US Museums (University of Massachusetts Press, 2022).

Prof. Catalina Muñoz Rojas

Catalina Muñoz Rojas is Associate Professor of History at the Universidad de los Andes, Bogotá, Colombia. Her work focuses on the public uses of history around contentious issues of the present. Her current project explores the role of historians and of historical knowledge in transitional justice in the context of the Colombian peace process. Her publications include recently “Moving pictures: memory and photography among the Arhuaco of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Colombia” in History and Anthropology (2017), and “Contentious Memories: History and Urban Redevelopment in Bogotá, Colombia” published in the Journal of Urban Affairs in co-authorship with Friederike Fleischer (2020).

Prof. Jerome de Groot

Jerome de Groot is Professor of Literature and Culture at the University of Manchester. He is currently AHRC Leadership Fellow for the project “Double-Helix History” and has held fellowships and visiting positions in Russia, Japan, Australia and Ireland. He is the author of “Consuming History” (2008/2016), “Remaking History” (2015) and “The Historical Novel” (2009). His research is mainly focused on representation of history in contemporary popular film, television, drama and games, literature of the period 1640-1660, popular and public history, historiography and genetics in popular culture.

Prof. Marko Demantowsky

Marko Demantowsky holds the Chair of Public History at the Faculty Center for Transdisciplinary Historical and Cultural Studies at University of Vienna. Previously he was full professor for modern history and history education in Basel, assistant professor for history education in Bochum and interim professor in Jena and Siegen. His curent main research interests focus on a digitally based ethnology and history of Austrian places of remembrance of national relevance; the digital transformation of historiographic and public-historic practice; and the history and theory of Public History in the European 18th century. He founded Public History Weekly in 2013.


Conference Programme

(last updated 24 August 2023)

Friday, 1 September

03:00-04:30 p.m. CET


Registration and refreshments



04:30-05:00 p.m. CET Welcome addresses
by Marko Demantowsky (Co-organiser)
by Herbert Justnik (Volkskundemuseum)
by Sophie Wagenhofer (De Gruyter Publishers/History)
Chair: Barbara Pavlek Löbl (Vienna)
05:00-05:45 p.m. CET Keynote 1
Clarissa Ceglio (Storrs, CT):
Public History as Reflective Balancing Act
06:15-07:00 p.m. CET Keynote 2
Catalina Muñoz Rojas (Bogotá):
The Political Uses of History in Transitional Justice: A Colombian Example
07:00-07:30 p.m. CET Q&A


Saturday, 2 September


09:15-09.25 a.m. CET Welcome address by Barbara Pavlek Löbl (Vienna), short commentary on both keynotes


Parallel Morning Sessions

Engaged Public History in International Comparison (Panel 2)

Conflicts and Collaborations: The Case of Schools (Panel 1)




Panel 1


Chair: Thomas Hellmuth (Vienna)

09:30-09:45 a.m. CET Introduction
09:50-10:05 a.m. CET    Arthur Chapman (London):
Activism, Professionalism, and Control: Policing History Teacher Activism in England
10:10-10:25 a.m. CET Joanna Wojdon (Wrocław):
History Teachers as Public Historians and Their (Potential) Engagement in Political Activism and Public Debates on History Politics and Contested Histories
10:30-10:45 a.m.  CET Bassel Akar (Louaize / Porto) [online]:
Civil Society and Public Agency for History Education Reform
10:45-11:15 a.m.  CET Q&A
11:45-12:00 a.m. CET Maria Georgiou (Nicosia):
From History to Histories: (Re)Imagining a New Public History Paradigm in a Post-War Context
12:05-12:20 p.m. CET  Peter Gautschi (Lucerne):
Educational Media and Political Activism – Challenging Societal Expectations on History Education
12:25-01:00 p.m. CET   Q&A




Panel 2


Chair: Barbara Pavlek Löbl (Vienna)

09:30-09:45 a.m. CET Introduction
09:50-10:05 a.m. CET    Jasmine Alinder / Alan Christy (Santa Cruz, CA):
Public History & Japanese American Incarceration During World War II
10:10-10:25 a.m. CET Noor Nieftagodien (Johannesburg):
Public History and Emancipatory Politics: The Case of South Africa’s Anti-Apartheid Struggle
10:30-10:45 a.m.  CET Andrei Volodin (Moscow):
Pravda and Truth in Russian Public History: How to Resist Indoctrination?
10:45-11:15 a.m.  CET Q&A
11:45-12:00 a.m. CET Irina Savelieva (Woodlands, USA):
The Great Patriotic War (1941-1945) in Ordinary Words: Diaries of Soviet People on the Prozhito Website
12:05-12:20 p.m. CET  Mills Kelly (Fairfax, VA) [online]:
Making “Divisive Concepts” Visible Through Public History
12:25-01:00 p.m. CET   Q&A



02:00-02:45 p.m. CET Keynote 3
Marko Demantowsky (Vienna):
Histories of Activism and Activism in Histories – What is the job of “Public History”?

(from left to right: Michel Kobelinski, Serge Noiret, Thomas Hellmuth, Arthur Chapman, Catalina Muñoz Rojas, Marko Demantowsky, Joanna Wojdon, Thomas Cauvin, Clarissa Ceglio, Peter Gautschi, Tanya Evans, Noor Nieftagodien, Jerome de Groot, Andrei Volodin, Maria Georghiou, Alan Christy, Barbara Pavlek Löbl, Na Li, Cord Arendes, Enrica Salvatori, Irmgard Zündorf, Rabea Rittgerodt, Jasmine Alinder)

Sunday, 3 September


09:15-09.25 a.m. CET Welcome address by Thomas Hellmuth (Co-organiser), short commentary on Saturday’s discussions


Parallel Morning Sessions

Public History and Community Engagement (Plenary Room)

Politics and Institutions: International Perspectives (Library Room)





Panel 3


Chair: Thomas Hellmuth (Vienna)

09:30-09:45 a.m. CET Introduction
09:50-10:05 a.m. CET Tanya Evans (Sydney):
Memory Making, Politics, and the Representation of the Past in Australia’s Blue Mountains
10:10-10:25 a.m. CET Michel Kobelinski (Campo Mourão, Paraná):
Political Activism and Emotional Bond in Brazil
10:45-11:00 a.m. CET Jimena Perry (New York, NY) [online]:
Public Historians’ Duty: Cocktails, Art, or Social Criticism?
11:05-11:20 a.m. CET  Moira Pérez (Buenos Aires) [online]:
Public History and the Deceptive Allure of State-sponsored Engagement
11:20-12:00 a.m. CET  Q&A




Panel 4


Chair: Barbara Pavlek Löbl (Vienna)

09:30-09:45 a.m. CET Introduction
09:50-10:05 a.m. CET Olaya Sanfuentes (Macul, Santiago de Chile) [online]:
The Public Historian at the Museum. A Values Activist
10:10-10:25 a.m. CET Irmgard Zündorf (Potsdam):
To Be or Not to Be Political. Memorials and Political Activism
10:45-11:00 a.m. CET Serge Noiret (Florence):
A Contested Mausoleum Honoring Rodolfo Graziani, an Italian World War 2 Criminal
to come
11:05-11:20 a.m. CET  Enrica Salvatori (Pisa):
Fascist Art and its Audiences. A Public History Project on a Statue of Costanzo Ciano
11:20-12:00 a.m. CET  Q&A


Afternoon Session




Panel 5


Chair: Marko Demantowsky (Vienna)

01:00-01:15 p.m. CET Introduction
01:20-01:35 p.m. CET Thomas Cauvin (Luxembourg):
Is Impact-driven Public History a Curse or an Opportunity?
01:40-01:55 p.m. CET Na Li (Shanghai/San Francisco):
Complex Public History —The Asian Context
02:00-02.15 p.m. CET Cord Arendes (Heidelberg):
Good Activism, Bad Activism: Chances, Risks, and Consequences of Public History’s Dual Heritage
02:15-02:45 p.m. CET Q&A



03:00-03:45 p.m. CET Keynote 4
Jerome de Groot (Manchester):
Histories at Risk
03:45-04:15 p.m. CET Q&A
04:15 p.m. CET Marko Demantowsky and Thomas Hellmuth
Conference Farewell Address



3-6 September 2023 in Krems


PHW Editorial Meeting


Workshop “Constructing a Public History Handbook with De Gruyter Academic Publishers”

Credentials: By Doronenko – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0



Public History International. Beyond school? Comparative Perspectives


1st Public History Weekly World Conference

October  2 – 3, 2015


Landgut Sandgrube, Basel (Switzerland)

Conference Website:


Public History and School (2018), De Gruyter Academic Publishers


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