Video Chronicle

Public History and the City
21 July 2016


On July 21, 2016 as the part of the lecture-discussion series  "Jewish Days at the City Hall: Communities, Milieus and States in the 20th Century Contested Cities" a lecture by Dr. Timothy R. White on "The Touring and Teaching of Difficult Subjects: Controversies in Public History" was held. The Lecture will take place in the restaurant "Ratusha" (1, Rynok sq.).

In his lecture Dr. White drew upon his experience as a tour guide and engaged public historian since the year 2000. For this work, he has often needed to teach difficult subjects such as racial strife, neighborhood displacement, gentrification, and monuments to topics such as the Holocaust and the Katyn massacre. Each time such a subject comes up on a tour or in a lecture, it elicits vastly different reactions and feelings from students or tour guests. He presented several case studies of difficult public history in the U.S.A., including the NYC Holocaust Museum, the Jersey City Katyn monument, a Jersey City statue of African-American baseball star Jackie Robinson, and the flying of Confederate flags. He also offered his perspective on select examples from Lviv as well, drawing comparisons between Ukrainian and American public history. 

Dr. Timothy R. White teaches urban and modern U.S. history as an Associate Professor at New Jersey City University, in Jersey City, NJ. He has led many walking tours for students and visiting groups in New York City and Jersey City, and more recently he has led tours of Cusco, Madrid, Barcelona, Athens, and Shanghai while teaching study abroad courses. He has scholarly interests in the dynamics of neighborhood change, post-industrial cities, and theatrical history, which led him write "Blue-Collar Broadway: The Craft and Industry of American Theater" (2015) for the University of Pennsylvania Press.

Jewish Days was a public program for general audiences. It is related to two other projects of the Center for Urban History - Summer School in Jewish History and Multicultural Past, held annually since 2010, and the initiative Space of Synagogues: Jewish History, Common Heritage and Responsibility (in partnership with the Lviv City Council and the German Society for International Cooperation, GIZ).