Scholarly personae: what they are and why they matter
in How to be a historian
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What are scholarly personae? To introduce this volume, this opening chapter explores the concept as it has been developed in various forms by Lorraine Daston and Peter Galison, by scholars around the journal Persona Studies, and by historians interested in ‘the scholarly self’. Central to the approach adopted in this volume is the question ‘what kind of a historian do I want to be?’ With examples from American and German historical studies, the chapter shows that answers to this question always draw on available templates or models of how to be a historian. Identifying these models as scholarly personae, the chapter goes on to argue that research on scholarly personae is most productive when it zooms in on how personae are appropriated, adapted and applied in concrete historical settings. Guiding questions are: What personae are available to historians at a given time and place? How do they use them and to what ends? What demands do personae make upon historians in terms of skills, virtues or habits they require? And to what extent does this differ across time, space and fields?

Editor: Herman Paul


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