History News Network (HNN) was founded in 2001 to help put current events into historical perspective. Its original mandate, as articulated by founder Rick Shenkman, was to create a space for historians to offer deeper context for the stories flitting across American newspapers and TV screens. Among HNN’s many duties, Shenkman explained, were these:
To expose politicians who misrepresent history. To point out bogus analogies. To deflate beguiling myths. To remind Americans of the irony of history. To put events in context. To remind us all of the complexity of history.
In 2023, HNN fused with Bunk, a public history initiative at the University of Richmond. Recognizing historians’ many successes over the prior two decades in reaching broad public audiences, and the simultaneous challenges posed by the fragmentation of those audiences into countless digital micro-communities, this new partnership refocused HNN’s efforts on reaching news consumers where they are.
The primary platform for this new work is HNN's email newsletter. Each week, subscribers receive a new original essay about the ways in which the past continues to resonate through the present. Our essays are written by historians, scholars, journalists, and others with a unique perspective to offer on topics of current concern. Subscribers also receive newly relevant stories from the HNN archive, along with a curated collection of recent links from around the web, integrated into Bunk's “database of connections,” which weaves together the threads running through thousands of other historically minded stories. You can join our network of subscribers here.
Fundamentally, HNN’s mission remains committed to the core values that inspired its creation more than two decades ago. Because the past continues to shape our lives in countless ways, understanding history in informed and critical ways makes us better neighbors, citizens, and leaders.
Our own approach to that interpretative work recognizes the value of academic training for producing insights that are clear, credible, and grounded. But we also embrace other modes of writing with the potential to more effectively engage a broad public. And we do not shy away from the reality that historians debate, disagree, and deliver accounts of the past that are necessarily provisional. We set out not to settle debates, but rather to demystify them; not to debunk, but rather to declutter. We seek to spark curiosity and cultivate understanding about other times and places to encourage connection, empathy, and new pathways for understanding the people and world around us today.
Who We Are
HNN Newsletter Editor: Jaime Fuller
Bunk Editor: Tony Field
Bunk Founder & Executive Director: Edward Ayers
Bunk is made possible by generous donors at the University of Richmond.
For general inquiries, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
History News Network
c/o Tony Field
Carole Weinstein International Center, Room 302
211 Richmond Way
University of Richmond