ABOUT ASKHISTORIANS

A NEW VISION FOR THE DIGITAL HUMANITIES

AskHistorians was founded in 2011 as a digital humanities project that provides a tightly-regulated, bigotry-free space where the public can engage with historical professionals and grassroots historians. It has since grown to encompass a panel of over three hundred experts, monthly traffic of over 1.5 million people, a popular podcast, an annual digital conference, and a presence on Twitter, Facebook, and at professional academic conferences.

ANSWERS THAT ARE IN-DEPTH, COMPREHENSIVE, AND SUPPORTED BY UP-TO-DATE RESEARCH

We are distinguished by our high standards and our 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 these answers to ensure they adhere to our core principles: that answers are 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 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 THE PUBLIC HUMANITIES

AskHistorians exists to break down the artificial barriers among both professional and 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. Likewise, we offer suggestions to readers on how they can support the health of the humanities in the public sphere.

ASKHISTORIANS IRL

Over its 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

    • "AskHistorians": Outreach and Its Challenges in an Online Space

  • National Council of Public History's 2017 Annual Meeting

    • Democratizing the Digital Humanities?: The "AskHistorians" Experiment in User-Driven Public History

  • American Historical Association's 2020 Annual Meeting

    • Historians on the Battleground of Social Media: Lessons from Eight Years of AskHistorians