I am Assistant Professor of History and have moved to Colorado – after 5 years in Louisiana – in 2017. My teaching, my research, and my projects are based on three principles: international comparison, public participation, application of history to present-day issues.
I do believe that international comparison (and learning languages) makes us better students, researchers, and citizens. Born in France, I studied in France, Ireland, Italy, and the United States. In 2018, I became the president of the International Federation for Public History that works at changing the way we research, communicate, and share history in/with the public. Public history is a way of doing history that fosters communication beyond academic audiences, encourages public participation, and demonstrates how important historical methodology is in our societies. I have published Public History: a Textbook of Practice (Routledge) the first single-authored public history textbook in North America in 2016.
Public history has influenced my teaching, my research, and my projects. In 2018 (Spring), my graduate students created and mounted an exhibition at the Global Village Museum on the legacy of immigration in Fort Collins. In addition to public history courses (HIS 479: Introduction to Public History; HIS 540: Material Culture), I propose public history assignments in all my courses. Students can organize guided tours, create virtual collection, create interactive maps, organize history harvests, and always have to work with local communities. Based on my experience as documentary film maker, I offer a class of Media Production (Spring 2019) in which students learn how to make videos, interviews, and social media projects. I am also proposing courses on monuments and the currents debates on what to do with contested sites, not only in the United States (Confederate Monuments) but in Europe (statues of communist leaders) and Latin America (Columbus) too. In 2018, my students document the history of beer and brewing in Colorado by working with local breweries, local communities – collecting artefact – and interviewing actors of the craft beer landscape.
My research includes both academic and peer-reviewed publications on the changing roles of historians, the rise of public history, and more public history projects for which I work with local communities. I have co-realized Theo’s Choice (history of French heritage and education in Louisiana, 2018), which was part of the official selection at the Quebec City Film Festival and won the award from the public at the Louisiana Film Festival (2018). I have also worked as consultant for museums such as the Canadian Museum of Sciences and Technology. You can find me on Twitter @thomascauvin
I have published on Irish history, museums and collections, memory studies, and public history. I wrote the first single-authored textbook on Public History. Public History. A Textbook of Practice is the ideal companion for introduction to Public History courses.
My last article (available in English and Spanish) is about the global rise of public history. It is available in Open Access here.
I also wrote in French, Spanish, Italian, and English on various aspects of the internationalization of public history. See my CV for more details.