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Amplified Initiative

Jan 2, 2019

What do magicians, historians, and performers have in common? Find out in today’s episode of Amplified Initiative where we’ll listen in on the panel “Feeling Is Believing: Embodied Practices of Popular History.”

The Amplified Initiative is a project of the Organization of American Historians ( and presented by the Oral History Association ( This project from the Organization of American Historians aims to broaden the impact of the OAH’s 2018 conference by asking partner organizations to develop material, based on the conference panels, that will be shared with each partner’s specific audience.

When considering “forms” of history, we tend to think of those that are self-consciously pedagogical and/or interpretive: the monograph, the lecture, the commemoration, the museum. Scholars interested in popular history have also added television, film, and more popular forms to this list, but embodied engagements (that is, interactions where meaning is made at the site of the body) are often understudied. We assume that “history” is kept separate from the knowledge-producing or appraising subject, who we still think of as a sort of “blank slate,” and who learns about and makes meaning from the past quite apart from their own experience or sense of self. It is only recently that scholars working across several fields (history, performance studies, theatre studies, affect studies) have begun to take seriously the ways that people make historical meaning through embodied engagement.

This panel examines the way in which forms of history that involve the body as the primary site of discovery and meaning-making, has intersected and interacted with its surrounding popular culture.

Chair and Commentator: Amy Tyson, DePaul University

Panelists: Malgorzata Joanna Rymsza-Pawlowska, American University Michelle Liu Carriger, University of California, Los Angeles Aileen Robinson, Stanford University

You can listen to the full version of this panel, as well as other presentations that didn’t make into the podcast, at