Bellagio Library/

Public History for a Post-Truth Era: Fighting Denial Through Memory Movements

by Liz Ševčenko

Liz Ševčenko organized and facilitated two Bellagio convenings, in 1999 and 2001. Her book Public History for a Post-Truth Era: Fighting Denial Through Memory Movements (Routledge, 2022) reflects on the international memory movement that grew from these convenings. Liz is Founding Director of the Humanities Action Lab, and was the Founding Director of the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience.

A few words with Liz

“The book is largely about my time at the Bellagio Center and the movement it inspired. It describes the people who came together from different parts of the world, working in very different contexts. It describes how they forged a coalition to make remembering atrocities of the past a human right.

“I learned a tremendous amount from each of the people who came together at Bellagio, about different concepts of memory, dialogue, and action, from contexts as varied as Siberia and Senegal.”


Public History for a Post-Truth Era explores how to combat historical denial when faith in facts is at an all-time low. Moving beyond memorial museums or documentaries, the book shares on-the-ground stories of participatory public memory movements that brought people together to grapple with the deep roots and current truths of human rights abuses. It gives an inside look at Sites of Conscience around the world, and the memory activists unearthing their hidden histories, from the Soviet Gulag to the slave trade in Senegal. It then follows hundreds of people joining forces across dozens of U.S. cities to fight denial of Guantánamo, mass incarceration, and climate change.

Explore More

To find out more about Liz’s work, you can explore the work of Sites of Conscience and projects of the Humanities Action Lab: the Guantanamo Public Memory Project, States of Incarceration and Climates of Inequality.

Or you can follow Liz on Twitter.