The Public History Initiative

University of California, Los Angeles



The Public History Initiative trains undergraduate students to be active participants in researching and communicating history. Through hands-on internships, research-focused courses, and collaboration with community partners, students learn to communicate with broad audiences and apply their historical knowledge outside of the university. 

We produce cutting-edge public history. Our work focuses on evidence-based and community-informed research and outreach. 

We contribute to history education. Through the National Center for History in the Schools, we collaborate with K-12 educators to get the most recent history research into school classrooms. 



History in our community

Community Partnership

We collaborate with community partners. We have partnerships with cultural institutions, community organizations, and advocacy groups throughout the Los Angeles region. These partnerships are integral to our work in training students and in producing high quality, inclusive public histories.

Our latest evidence-based, community-informed project, “Food Connects Us,” comes from our collaboration with the UCLA History Geography Project and Los Angeles-based La Plaza de Cultura y Artes. The result of our partnership is a week-long dive into the labor and lives of essential farmworkers- understanding the history of “farm-to-table” through anything from cooking demonstrations to protest artwork.

For access to the videos and activities of the event, click here.

HistoryCorps

Our HistoryCorps program places undergraduate history students in credit-earning internships in museums, schools, cultural institutions and community organizations in the Los Angeles region. Our internships focus on preparing our students and future historians to conduct research and engage the community with a hands-on approach to practicing active evidence-based and community-informed historiographical work. 

Current Courses

The initiative offers internships and courses to allow undergraduate students to be active agents in collecting and analyzing history and historiographical methods. We offer a variety of concentrated courses from migrant publics and political power to collecting community history for students to engage in an area or issue-specific histories.

For a list of current and past courses, visit here.

NCHS

The National Center for History in the Schools (NCHS), a division of the PHI, seeks to enliven the teaching of history at the university and K-12 level through publication and professional development resources and collaboration with educators.

Click here to visit our bookstore.

Faculty-led, Student-Fueled Projects

We work at the forefront of public history research and communication. Our research is both local and international. Recent projects include LA Neighborhoods, created through our HIST 148 course that looks to rediscover the histories of “lost” neighborhoods of Los Angeles and their residents. We are training our undergraduates to conduct active historiographical practices while creating forms of publicly accessible content. Taking a history from the bottom-up perspective challenges our students and the public to resituate their understanding of history using an unbiased lens.

Other current projects include: imagining archives and the long history of essential work in California.