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Leslie Madsen-Brooks

Leslie Madsen-Brooks, director of the IDEA Shop within the Center for Teaching and Learning, presented at the National Council on Public History conference, which took place April 18-21 in Las Vegas. Her group’s roundtable session, “Is Facebook Bad for History?” examined the explosion of historical content on social media and shared some successes and failures in advancing thoughtful public engagement with the past.

In her presentation, Madsen-Brooks showed how Facebook pages and groups focused on histories of underrepresented people serve a larger emancipatory mission. She cautioned professional historians not to quickly dismiss such efforts when some posts prove inaccurate, as these projects offer space for groups underrepresented in traditional history texts and projects to reclaim their own pasts and represent them in ways that center their experiences.