Eugene Moerman

University of Chicago

Please visit the University of Chicago's Making History Work page to find the latest information on the program and its activities.

Every History PhD student, regardless of whether they pursue an academic or non-academic career after graduation, can benefit from discussing careers and learning skills not traditionally emphasized in graduate programs. Making History Work, the AHA-Mellon Career Diversity initiative at the University of Chicago, organizes workshops and events that allow graduate students to acquire a diverse set of skills, explore new areas where they can apply their expertise, and more effectively communicate the value of their training and research to a wider audience within and beyond the academy. In this way, Making History Work encourages Chicago graduate students to become versatile, articulate historians engaged in the world around them and prepared to navigate the challenges and opportunities facing the discipline today.

In its first year, the initiative successfully launched a new series of events focused on skill building and professionalization, including workshops on public speaking, crafting an elevator speech, and the History Presentation Extravaganza, which challenged students to distill their research into short, five-minute presentations delivered to an audience of faculty and fellow students. The program also placed three students in summer internships and brought UChicago alumni to the department to discuss careers beyond the academy.

In 2015-2016, Making History Work will place more students in internships and continue its emphasis on public speaking and alumni outreach. The initiative will also work to situate professionalization and career diversity within a broader discussion of what it means to be a historian in the twenty-first century. A new set of workshops will focus on topics such as digital literacies, writing for different audiences in different media, and how to explore careers beyond the tenure track. These skill-building opportunities will be balanced with other events that will bring together students, faculty, and alumni to discuss the state of the discipline and the value of historical training. Through these conversations, we hope Making History Work will spark a lively discussion of how historians can speak to individuals and issues beyond the academy and the ways that engagement can benefit their own scholarship and the world around them.