Constructing Presidential Legacies:

Critical Perspectives on American Presidential Libraries and Museums

"Who controls the past, controls the future:

who controls the present controls the past."

George Orwell, 1984, p. 30

We invite a wide range of scholars interested in any existing or proposed American Presidential Library and Museum to submit by Tuesday, July 21, 2020, a 500-word abstract for a chapter for the prospective book Constructing Presidential Legacies: Critical Perspectives on American Presidential Libraries and Museumstargeted for publication in early 2022. The earlier advertised Symposium of the same name has been cancelled.

Presidential Libraries and Museums (PL&Ms) form a uniquely American typology that not only houses the archives of the presidency but also shapes contemporary narratives of the history of the administration and engages citizens on many levels. The first libraries (Hoover’s, FDR’s, Truman’s, and Eisenhower’s) were located in or near the president’s “hometown” and architecturally modest with the emphasis on creating efficient and functional archives and reading rooms. The architecture and display of material objects were initially secondary. However, starting with Kennedy’s and continuing to Obama’s, the design, planning, and location of these PL&Ms have become much more controversial given the politics of their location; the expanding construction, maintenance, and endowment costs; as well as access to their archives and the interpretation of presidential legacies.

Unpublished critiques of any of the thirteen existing libraries (Hoover to George W. Bush) and potential future libraries (Obama, Trump, Teddy Roosevelt) are welcome. We also encourage any scholars interested in these varied fascinating sites to contact us prior to submitting the abstract to discuss possible subjects in order to achieve a wide range of chapter topics and approaches.

Current Revised Schedule

  • May 22, 2020: Call for abstracts
  • July 21, 2020: Abstracts due
  • July 28, 2020: Selected chapter authors notified, and book prospectus sent to publisher
  • February 1, 2021: First draft of chapters due
  • June 30, 2021: Revised chapters due

For questions, further information, or to discuss proposals contact:
Marie-Alice L’Heureux and Kapila Silva

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