How will the moment of time in which you live be remembered? Will Occupy Wall Street or the anti-Trump movement be written into history as the 1968 of the 21st century? Are our lives a turning point in the political, economic, or social conditions of the modern world?
For Rutgers University History Professors Jochen Hellbeck and Johanna Schoen, it is necessary to archive the political thoughts, emotions, and experiences of people living the current moment so that these questions can be answered at the most personal level—today and in the future. The American Pulse Project is a website that posts directives—questions about the current social and political climate—for people living in the United States in the 21st century, from all backgrounds, ages, and political viewpoints, to address based on their own thoughts and experiences. The idea is that the archive will take the “pulse” of the nation year by year and provide a plethora of narratives that capture what each moment was like.
Anyone living in the United States can participate in the American Pulse Project. The first directive was posted on November 24, 2017, and those who respond to it will be invited to continue answering these directives as they are produced. The website is sponsored by the School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers University. The project is led by Jochen Hellbeck and Johanna Schoen in cooperation with Kristin O’Brassill-Kulfan, Marion Bacher, and Marshall T. Poe.