Spring on the York College campus

Meet Jacqueline Beatty, Ph.D.

By Colleen Karl
Jacqueline Beatty, assistant professor of history stands in her office.

What area of history do you specialize in and what about it interests you?

My area of specialty is early American and women’s and gender history, both of which I teach at York College, along with courses in Public and Digital History. I’ve always been drawn to early American history, particularly

the Revolution, which is likely a side effect of growing up in the Philadelphia area. What drew me to this topic as a field of study were the inherent contradictions of the Revolutionary era. It was a time of such opportunity, such sweeping, inspiring rhetoric, a moment in which ordinary citizens took up the public and political debate over rights and liberties (and had debates over how a new government would be structured). Yet, as we know, inequalities and the restrictions of rights of many people persisted. The larger questions that have undergirded my research are essentially why and how those inequalities continued despite the potential which the language of the Revolution provided.

What project(s) are you currently working on with your students within the community and how do you hope this/these project(s) will benefit your students and the community?

This past semester, my Introduction to Public History students worked with local York history sites in developing a semester-long portfolio of projects related to that site. In February, they conducted oral histories at the Village at Kelly Drive, a local retirement home, which both my students and the residents really seemed to enjoy! I’ve also been meeting with Dominic DelliCarpini, the Dean of the Center for Community Engagement, to develop several programs over the course of the coming months (and years) to engage members of the York community with our students, including a community collection event.

Where would you like to see these projects/programs in the next few years? Any plans to continue or expand upon them?

We would love to see these projects expand. Our Public History major is brand new, but we see it as a great opportunity for students to use the critical thinking and communication skills that they acquire in their liberal arts education here at YCP and combine it with specific, professional career training in public history-specific coursework. In the fall of 2019, I’ll be teaching a course in Digital Public History, in which the students will be creating a born-digital exhibit project based in York’s history, and one of my students is building a website to connect our Department’s events, students’ work, and alumni news to the wider college and local communities.