Helping People Work Better, Together
Does history matter?
It may sound counter-intuitive: Why think about the past if the problem solving my organization needs is right here, right now or if my team needs a new take on professional development? How can the use of history expand marketing potential?
Don't we need to think only about today's realities, especially if my team or organization is going to address our challenges and not only survive, but thrive?
But what if the history matters?
ACTIVHISTorian Pamela Stewart's FREE 30-minute Let's-Get-Started session allows for a foundational assessment of YOUR needs. This may include a new take on professional development or team-building. It might mean rethinking marketing strategies or assessing a current challenge faced by your organization. Follow-up options include presentations, workshops, tailor-made consulting, and strategic planning workshops so you can move forward productively and confidently.
What's an ACTIVHISTorian?
An ACTIVHISTorian works to solve problems and create change through the use of history. Overall, they understand that asking questions about the past allows for a clearer vision of the present. The use of history can then be combined with other tools at an organization's disposal to address current challenges or expand an organization's reach.
ACTIVHISTorians engage in all spheres of society, sharing a historian's toolkit to democratize its use far beyond its traditional academic context and usage, helping more people create change.
Find out more about applying historical thinking to expand marketing options and increase the problem-solving capacity in your organization.
To use history to address today's challenges with inclusive, accessible content and resources.
To democratize the historian's toolkit to prevent and solve problems, expand markets, and increase creative innovation.
To harness history to solve present and future challenges.
Integrity | Collaboration | Respect
Inclusion | Accessibility | Curiosity
Excellence | Earnestness | Evidence
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What do Historians DO?
Rare is the work done by professionals so different in nature from what most experience when taking related classes or engaging with popular culture. And name a movie or video game that allows the viewer or player to personally experience the exciting work historians can DO. Partly due to books and media, most people can at least imagine themselves as an astute detective, curious lab scientist, or a top-notch doctor assessing a patient's condition.
But the unfortunate impression of many is that historians primarily listen to or give lectures, memorize names and dates, and watch films. Historians may at times do some of those things but it isn't at all what the work is about. And especially in our Google world, there must be more to it.
Learning to think and assess all matter of things historically is useful in many careers and for many interests. But overall, historians actually DO a lot of things that have similarities to detective work or even scientific and medical research. In brief, they:
Ask good questions
Publicly present findings
What does that involve? Some components include:
QUESTIONING: What questions haven't been asked or addressed yet?
FINDING: Figure out where documentation (often called primary sources) exists that might help answer those questions. That means investigating what is understood and what remains unknown. Sometimes we are seeking out the so-far invisible and making it visible. A bit of magic!
CORROBORATING: Like a good journalist, a historian can't assume that one document or point of view is enough--or even truthful! What other evidence might be useful to examine? People can lie, fudge the truth, or simply think they are telling the truth because they don't have other information to help. A historian can function a bit like a good judge, hearing all the evidence but deciding what really matters to get at the truth.
CONTEXTUALIZING: We may find that some documentation seems to exist--but what does it mean when set within the larger context of events surrounding it and the era in which it was produced? People of different times and places can understand the world quite differently and figuring out how the evidence reveals that world can offer many surprises.
seek to democratize the skills historians use. This results in more history--YOUR history--becoming visible even if some didn't think it was all that important. It is! It also means that more current challenges we face can have more context that allows for solutions.
Introduction: A Bit of History
On August 6, 2022, ACTIVHISTorian.com went live.
The word, ACTIVHISTorian, was coined by Dr. Pamela Stewart in late-2019 when asked to create “A Word for the Future,” for the digital newspaper, The Revolution (Relaunch), developed and edited by Dr. Rosemarie Dombrowski, Phoenix Poet Laureate and humanities scholar extraordinaire. As noted then and since, the questions we ask of history need urgent relevance if we are to resist overt, even ‘activist,’ attempts to stifle it, silencing an uncomfortable past that does not fit a preferred narrative. Getting history wrong--or simply ignoring it--leaves problems unsolved.
In 2022 Stewart retired from a non-traditional 20-year career in higher education, determined to expand her practice beyond the classroom to the community at large. She had long recognized how often problems cannot be solved without taking their history into account, yet she observed that few consider that fact even when earnestly trying to address today's challenges.
Therefore, Stewart seeks to democratize the historian's toolkit so that everyone--individuals, communities, non-profits, companies, and government entities--can more effectively address the challenges they face. Basically, if we don't know the history, we can't solve the problem. The history matters.