Public History is a rich and exciting discipline to teach, especially because it invites lecturers to offer less conventional assignments. As part of a seminar entitled ‘Napoleon vs. Bismarck. (De)constructing national heroes’ I taught last semester, I invited students to submit a podcast as a final work. By doing so, students had to approach their work differently. They had to question how we tell stories and learn how to create a narrative and discursive structure that works for a wider audience. In other words, they fully engaged with the ‘learning-by-doing’ approach, whose merits I have defended previously.
You will find below a selection of the works produced by the students. The topics and perspectives are varied, and the four examples show rather different approaches in dealing with the podcast format. For most of the students, this was the first encounter with audio production, but they brilliantly took on the challenge and produced convincing results.
A podcast selection by Richard Legay
Part 3: ‘Are we there yet? Deconstructing Statues in Modern Day Germany’
by Bea O’Keefe
“Are we there yet?”, is a podcast about the progress of historical studies. I will ask questions about the success of public history, and whether we can fruitfully reflect on the issues within historical studies and our relationship to history. This podcast episode focuses on the role of statues in society and public history. I delve into debates surrounding statues within Europe and Germany: do we need them, do they glorify the wrong kinds of people, and how do we change our attitudes towards statues and the “heroes” they represent?
In order to answer these questions, I chat to historians as well as non-specialists to ask about their opinions on statues and the role they play in public history. Do they really promote and educate the public on facts and figures of history? Or are they largely neglected by most passers-by? Do they typically raise awareness or celebrate controversial figures? This podcast also lists individual examples of controversial statues in Germany and their links to the past to give listeners greater understanding about these issues and controversies.
 Friedrich Silcher, in: Tüpedia, URL: https://www.tuepedia.de/wiki/Friedrich_Silcher#Denkmal, letzter Aufruf am 28.06.2022.
*Bild: Dirtsc, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
Letzter Zugriff: 05.07.22.
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