A New Vision for the Digital Humanities
AskHistorians was founded in 2011 as the digital humanities project that provides a tightly-regulated, bigotry-free space for the public to engage with historical professionals and grassroots historians. It has since grown to encompass a panel of over three hundred experts, monthly traffic over 1,500,000 people, a popular podcast, and a presence on Twitter, Facebook, and at academic conferences.
“…Answers that are in-depth, comprehensive, and supported by up-to-date research”
We are distinguished by our high standards and commitment to user-driven content. Visitors bring their questions about history, and expert historians provide answers in accessible and engaging language. A team of moderators reviews answers to ensure they adhere to our core principles: in-depth, comprehensive, and supported by up-to-date scholarship. If you have never visited AskHistorians before, or are unfamiliar with how the site works, our How To Guide provides an excellent way to familiarize yourself with the site.
A Public Voice in Public History
Our Q&A approach places the public in control of public history. Panelists’ areas of expertise reflect traditional subdivisions of academic history, such as “Ancient Egypt: Gender & Society” or “Western Fashion History, 1700-1900.” But readers’ questions reflect arise out of more organic ways to think about history, resulting in investigations like “What is the history of late-night drunk snacking?” and “Did Socrates even lift?”
Advocacy for Public Humanities
AskHistorians exists to break down the artificial barriers among historical professionals, grassroots historians, and the public. Thus, while we are neither a political organization nor formally affiliated with academia, our mission includes advocacy in both directions. We promote the benefits of public engagement for professional historians at conferences and through face-to-face and online outreach. We offer suggestions to readers on how they can support the health of the humanities in the public sphere.
Over it existence, the AskHistorians team has presented panels at several conferences to help educate the wider historical profession about our mission, and make the case that it is an invaluable community for historical outreach to the general public. Past Conference Panels have included:
American Historical Association's 2016 Annual Meeting
National Council of Public History's 2017 Annual Meeting
American Historical Association's 2020 Annual Meeting