Public J. Steinhauer Lecture: Fake News and Media Literacy

Our era of fake news has also seen a rise in fake history – and through the Internet, social media and today’s numerous communication platforms, it is increasingly difficult to separate good history from bad, sound scholarship from shibboleth. Historians today are wrestling with this new media landscape. Historians are attempting to learn how to bring good history to audiences beyond the academy using new platforms, while also educating citizens on what makes for good history and what distinguishes it from narratives about the past that seek to advance a political or ideological agenda. This moment requires a renewed form of media literacy: one that empowers historians to understand the complexity of today’s media forms while simultaneously instilling a historical literacy in contemporary audiences that allows them to understand the complex ways in which the past can be wielded as either a positive or negative force in society.

Dr. Jason Steinhauer: Public history is my passion. Through more than fifteen years in the field leading the programs and projects of major cultural and historical institutions in the U.S., I’ve had the chance to see how history and scholarship–creatively and engagingly shared with the public–can make an impact. I serve as the first director of the Lepage Center for History in the Public Interest at Villanova University, a new center that will bring historical scholarship and historical perspective to bear on contemporary global issues. In the past, whether it was bringing researchers from around the world to the Library of Congress John W. Kluge Center and communicating their scholarship to policymakers and the public, or building a nationwide network of volunteers to collect, preserve, and make accessible the stories of America’s war veterans for the Veterans History Project, the programs we’ve developed have changed people’s lives for the better.

As a manager, leader, fundraiser, curator, archivist, oral historian, researcher, lecturer, registrar, film director and Board member, I’ve devoted my career to sharing history with the world and advocating for a more intelligent and informed citizenry based on the knowledge of our past. I’ve worked within institutions such as the Library of Congress, New-York Historical Society, and Museum of Jewish Heritage to develop nationally and internationally-recognized programs; developed the archives of the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame and Museo Judio de Sosua in the Dominican Republic; curated the award-winning exhibition Ours to Fight For: American Jews in the Second World War (among many exhibition credits), and served on the Boards of the Oral History in the Mid-Atlantic Region (OHMAR) and the Esperanza Education Fund.  I’m a frequent lecturer, writer, podcast host and YouTube presenter on the topics of history, public history, and scholarship. I created the field of History Communication and invented the “lightning conversation.”

I love to think, write, and communicate about the future of public history in America, and I work every day to make a better, more inspired, and more educated world. I earned my B.A. in American Studies from The George Washington University and my M.A. in History and Archival Management from New York University. I’m originally from White Plains, New York.

 The Lecture will take place 02 05 2017 13:15-14:45 p.m. Putvinskio str. 23 – 103
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