Documentary Historian to Head Masters Program

The UALR Department of History has welcomed Dr. Charles Romney as the new coordinator of the Masters of Arts in Public History. Previously on faculty at California’s Whittier College.

Romney has worked on documentaries, including one screened at the Sundance Film Festival.

“UALR’s masters program in public history has a strong reputation that builds on the University’s unique setting in Little Rock,” said Romney, who holds a Ph.D. in American History from the University of California, Los Angeles. “Little Rock offers a wide range of museums and archives unlike any other in the United States. The history department also contains a group of exceptional scholars working many different historical periods and areas of the world.”

Before teaching at Whittier, Romney worked for several years in digital history and documentary film, mostly at the organization Clio Visualizing History.

“At Clio, I was an historical consultant,” said Romney. “I collaborated with different teams as an information architect and served on a documentary film funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities as the fiscal officer.”

Romney’s work at Clio included documentaries concerning women and popular culture.

“The most prominent of the films was “Miss America,” a project for the Public Broadcasting Service,” he  said. “The film also appeared on WGBH’s series American Experience and at the Sundance Film Festival.”

As for the UALR program, Romney is planning to add to its curriculum.

“I’m excited to start work with my colleagues and graduate students in the public history program,” he said. “In particular, I look forward to expanding the program to include digital history, an emerging field that encompasses websites, short films, and digital oral histories.”

Deborah Baldwin, dean of the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, said that the addition of Romney to the department is another step in making UALR’s history program competitive in the state and surrounding areas.

“Dr. Romney’s experience will benefit our students in learning how to preserve history through the new media,” said Baldwin. “His expertise in this area is cutting edge.”

Currently, Romney is working on research comparing America’s empire to European empires in the late 19th century.

“For four years I taught Asian and African history at Whittier,” he said. “This new project in world history came out of my classroom teaching.”

Romney can be reached at the Department of History at 501-569-3235.

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