Welcome to Northeastern University’s M.A. Program in Public History! My name is Dr. Angel David Nieves and I am the Director of the Public History Program. I am beginning my third year as its director (still very much a newbie), and in many ways, I feel as if it is my first year on campus among this dynamic and robust community of scholar-practitioners and new knowledge-makers! This year will be a full return to face-to-face interactions along with the opportunity to meet and learn from one another as a community.
This is an exciting time to be a part of an interdisciplinary M.A. Program in the College of Social Sciences and Humanities (CSSH). This Program will prepare you for a career in public history with a deep commitment to social justice and in the use of digital tools, methods, and technologies in historical scholarship. As scholar-practitioners in the field of public history within the Department of History, we find ourselves at a truly transformational moment in all our lives because of the continued management of the COVID-19 virus, the impact of global warming, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the many rapid changes brought on by our interconnected global economy. All forms of cultural, artistic, and heritage organizations across the U.S. and elsewhere are in need of future graduates such as yourselves who will be nimble, who will be trained across a number of interdisciplinary methodologies, and who will participate in community-engaged forms of public humanities practices.
At Northeastern I am Professor of Africana Studies, History, Digital Humanities, and English with appointments in the Departments of History; Cultures, Societies, and Global Studies (CSGS); and English. I am also an Affiliate of the NULab for Texts, Maps & Networks, the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs, and of the Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project (CRRJ). I am also leading the College’s Public Humanities efforts. This past July I became Director of the University’s Humanities Center and am looking forward to sharing the Center’s vision with you as well. I mention all these roles because you will soon find that so MANY of our faculty, especially those in the History Department working in public history, wear many hats on campus and are involved in a variety of exciting centers, programs, research collaborations, and initiatives that reflect the interdisciplinary nature of our scholarship and our commitment to public engagement. I am especially fortunate to be working closely with the Dean’s Associate Professor of History and Africana Studies and Associate Director of Public History, Dr. Kabria Baumgartner. In just the one year that she has been with us at Northeastern, she has helped to reshape and strengthen our focus on BIPOC histories and community engaged projects. Dr. Baumgartner leads our Program’s efforts in placing our M.A. students in their fieldwork experiences across the region. My colleagues including Drs. Baumgartner, Blatt, Brown, Cain, Cohen, Heefner, Linker, Parsons, Poiger, and Rabinovitch (to name a few) are all deeply committed to innovative scholarship in public history and public humanities. As the Program Director, I am looking forward to meeting you all in person, and/or virtually, and I look forward to working with each and every one of you over the coming academic year and as you continue to work on your degree program.
Please feel free to reach out and introduce yourselves to me over email. I want to encourage all prospective M.A. and Ph.D. students to also reach out over email should they have any questions about our exciting array of programs in public history, digital humanities, community engagement, and public humanities. Let me emphasize again that I look forward to the fall semester and the opportunity to meet with each of you over the coming weeks!
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