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Jane Kamensky
Brandeis University historian Jane Kamensky will deliver the closing keynote at The Historical Society conference June 2.

USC to host The Historical Society May 31 June 2

By Peggy Binette, peggy@mailbox.sc.edu, 803-777-5400

University of South Carolina historian Walter Edgar will open The Historical Society’s 2012 conference Thursday, May 31, on the USC campus.

The conference, which is open to faculty, staff and students and runs through June 2, will take place in the Daniel-Mickel Center, located on the eighth floor of the Darla Moore School of Business. Edgar’s address, “Whose History is it Anyway? Reaching the People,” will take place at 7:30 p.m. in Belk Auditorium.

Nearly three dozen U.S. historians, including USC’s Marcia Synnott and Daniel Littlefield, will participate in a series of panel discussions that revolve around the theme “Popularizing Historical Knowledge: Practice, Prospects and Perils.”

“The Historical Society is dedicated to the writing of meaningful and accessible history. Our membership includes thousands of high school history teachers and students. The theme – the writing of popular history – speaks directly to the society’s main aims and also gives historians of all periods, place and persuasions the opportunity to discuss how we might write better, more accessible and more widely read history for the general public without compromising or sacrificing evidentiary standards and protocols,” said Mark Smith, Carolina Distinguished Professor of History and president of The Historical Society.

Smith, the first USC scholar to lead the prestigious organization, is serving his second term. The opening and closing keynotes are open free to the public. To register for the conference visit the website.

Jane Kamensky, the Harry S. Truman Professor of American Civilization at Brandeis University, will deliver the closing address at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

Kamensky’s talk is titled “The Politics of Dead Knowledge: What If the Death of History Is a Suicide?” “I borrowed my title from George Orwell’s classic 1946 essay, ‘Politics and the English Language,’ which traces the evolution of history from a discipline of discovery to one of argument and interpretation and the consequences of that shift,” Kamensky said. “Where once we were problem solvers, we have become problematizers. I’ll explore the retreat from mastery and accompanying rush toward complexity, which often seems to bypass not only the arts of style but the humble and ancient craft of exposition.”

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Posted: 05/28/12 @ 3:15 PM | Updated: 05/28/12 @ 3:26 PM | Permalink

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