Publication Date

October 29, 2014

Perspectives Section

Member Spotlight, News, Perspectives Daily



AHA members are involved in all fields of history, with wide-ranging specializations, interests, and areas of employment. To recognize our talented and eclectic membership, AHA Today features a regular AHA Member Spotlight series.MooneyMelvin_Photo (1)

Patricia Mooney-Melvin is an associate professor of history and associate dean of the graduate school at Loyola University Chicago. She lives in Highland Park, Illinois, and has been a member since the mid-1970s.

Alma mater: PhD, University of Cincinnati

Fields of interest: public history, urban history, social welfare history, landscape studies

When did you first develop an interest in history?

I always remember being interested in history. It wasn’t so much the research or the information but the way in which it could inform the present and lead to action. I entered a graduate history program because I wanted to better understand the nature of the city and the impact changing eras had on community organizational strategies and social change.

What projects are you working on currently?

My training in urban history and my public history background have merged into an interest in landscape history. In particular, I am interested in the ways in which memory is inscribed—or submerged under, so to speak—the landscape in urban areas. My current project is entitled The Landscape of Urban Memory.

Have your interests changed since graduate school? If so, how?

In the larger picture, my interests have not changed very much. My training in urban history possessed spatial elements, and I see all my work exploring important issues of identity and change in place and space. Additionally, I continue to believe strongly in the role of engaged history in the process of change.

Is there an article, book, movie, blog etc. that you could recommend to fellow AHA members? 

One of my favorite books is Michel-Rolph Trouillot, Silencing the Past: Power and Production in History. Over the past few weeks I have revisited Paul Groth and Todd Bressi’s edited volume, Understanding Ordinary Landscapes.

What do you value most about the history profession? 

I like its topical diversity, both in terms of breadth and depth and am pleased that it is a far more diverse profession than when I entered it in the 1970s.

Why did you join the AHA? 

I originally joined when I entered the job market. I stayed, for the most part, because it offers a window into the profession and can offer a venue to pursue issues related to professionalization, the shape of education in history, and advocacy.

Other than history, what are you passionate about? 

I like walking, gardening, and mysteries.

This post first appeared on AHA Today.

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