University of Texas at Austin Reaches Out to History Buffs Online
Jan. 10, 2011
AUSTIN, Texas — Historians at The University of Texas at Austin have introduced a first-of-its-kind Web site to help the public learn more about Texas, American and world history.
Developed by the History Department, "Not Even Past" will showcase new articles each month from history professors writing about the time periods and areas of history they study. The inaugural article by Professor Jacqueline Jones focuses on life in Savannah, Ga. during the Civil War.
The site will also feature:
- book recommendations, movie clips and podcasts,
- links to historical documents and artifacts from collections at The University of Texas at Austin and around the world,
- virtual courses with leading history professors and
- a daily "fact checker" that will debunk historical myths, such as the claim that Marie Antoinette said, "Let them eat cake."
This site provides history aficionados globally a user-driven community, an inviting, highly regarded nexus for historical inquiry and sharing.
"'Not Even Past' is our effort to offer history to a wider audience. All of our former students and literally anyone interested in history will find something interesting on our site," says Professor Joan Neuberger, who studies Russian history.
Visitors to "Not Even Past" will be able to take the virtual courses beginning this semester with Pulitzer Prize finalist H.W. Brands, who will offer a course on American leaders; Charters Wynn, who will offer a course on World War II on the Eastern Front; and Frank Guridy, who will offer a course on Cuban-U.S. relations. Each professor will assign three great books to their virtual students and lead a live chat devoted to each book during the semester.
"The students will have the chance to do some great reading with award-winning teachers who are experts in their fields — with no tests," says Neuberger. "At the end of each semester, they'll be honored at commencement with virtual certificates."
The Web site draws its name from American novelist William Faulkner, who once said, "The past is never dead. It's not even past." Professors and graduate students in the university's nationally ranked History Department developed the site and will produce most of its content.
"During these difficult budget times, we have developed and plan to maintain this Web site with our existing resources thanks to the hard work of our professors and students," says History Department Chair Alan Tully, a scholar in early American political culture. "No other university is doing anything like this. We view it as a way to connect the acumen of our History Department faculty with the inquisitiveness of historically minded members of the general public."