History in the public interest from the Lepage Center at Villanova University
Historians & journalists
Historian Johan Mathew, a scholar of the opiate trade, speaks with Inquirer reporters Mike Newall and Audrey Whelan who have chronicled the opioid crisis in Philadelphia, June 28, 2019. Photo courtesy The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Bringing historians and journalists into closer collaboration

--The Lepage Center launched a new initiative with The Philadelphia Inquirer earlier this summer, aiming to bring historians and journalists into a closer working relationship and to infuse more historical scholarship into local reporting .

--Eight local historians and seven Inquirer journalists spent several hours together in the Inquirer newsroom on June 28, exchanging information and expertise on three critically important topics: immigration, infrastructure, and the opioid crisis.

--Participants exchanged ideas for how to establish deeper working relationships between the two professions, including using historians as quoted experts in news stories; joint events between historians and journalists in conjunction with community partners; and jointly-conceived stories that frame current issues within historical contexts.

--As an example of how journalists and historians have successfully collaborated, the June 28 event also featured a keynote conversation between political historian Heather Cox Richardson and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ron Suskind . The pair co-hosted the 2017-2018 podcast " Freak Out and Carry On," produced by WBUR Boston and distributed by NPR. Cox Richardson and Suskind spoke about the benefits and challenges of their collaboration, in particular how to bridge the gap between the human interest stories journalists seek to tell, and the societal frameworks and institutional structures that historians seek to analyze.

--The event was made possible by a generous grant from The Lenfest Institute for Journalism and facilitated by the Lenfest Center for Cultural Partnerships at Drexel University . Our gratitude to both organizations for helping to launch this project.

--The Lenfest Institute recently published a wonderful write-up of the event on its Medium page that lays out how working together, historians and journalists can " help readers make sense of today's news, how it relates to the past, and how it can shape our future ."
Six upcoming events will examine how today's events revise our understandings of the past

Current events continually force us to revise our understandings of the past. This coming year, the Lepage Center will put " Revisionist History" under a microscope, examining how today's societal issues are challenging us to revise our understandings of seminal historical events.

The programs are:

  • REVISING EARLY AMERICA (September 18, 2019) – Marking the anniversary of the first slave ship arriving in 1619 and the landing of the Mayflower in 1620, we begin the academic year 2019-2020 by exploring the myths and realities surrounding our nation's origins.

  • REVISING THE CIVIL WAR (October 30, 2019) – Connecting with contemporary debates on Confederate monuments, legacies of slavery and race, we re-examine the causes of the war and its legacies today.

  • REVISING THE COLD WAR (November 6, 2019) – Connecting with contemporary debates on Russia, NATO, transatlantic alliances, and U.S. interventionism across the globe, as well as the anniversary of 1989, we ask how today's geo-politics change how we view the Cold War era.

  • REVISING THE HOLOCAUST (January 2019) – Timed with International Holocaust Remembrance Day and the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, we examine the Holocaust and Holocaust education in light of anti-Semitism and genocide today.

  • REVISING WOMEN’S SUFFRAGE (March 2019) – Marking the anniversary of the 19th amendment and timed with Women’s History Month, we re-examine Women's Suffrage in light of #MeToo, the Women's March, and today's social movements.

  • REVISING THE PLANET (April 2019) – Timed with the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, we ask how our knowledge of the climate today alters how we think about our planet's past.
--Speakers for all events are being finalized and will be announced in subsequent newsletters, as well as on our website and Twitter feed. RSVP today .

--All events occur at Villanova University and run from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. in Driscoll Auditorium.

--NEW THIS YEAR: Join us for a complimentary dessert reception following each event.
National media spotlight
The race for the Democratic nomination has brought the question of "electability" to the forefront of political conversation. Lepage Center director Jason Steinhauer examines the role of electability in presidential politics in a new column for The Washington Post.

Recent articles have chastised historians for a lack of public engagement. Lepage Center director Jason Steinhauer writes that nothing could be further from the truth, and that today the publicly engaged historian is the rule, not the exception, in an op-ed for CNN Opinion.

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