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Editor: Herman Paul

What makes a good historian? When historians raise this question, as they have done for centuries, they often do so to highlight that certain personal attitudes or dispositions are indispensable for studying the past. Yet their views on what virtues, skills or competencies historians need most differ remarkably, as do their models of how to be a historian (‘scholarly personae’). This volume explores why scholarly personae were, and are, so important to historians as to generate lots of debate. Why do historians seldom agree on the marks of a good historian? What impact do these disagreements have on historical research, teaching and outreach? And what does this tell about the unity, or disunity, of the field called historical studies? In addressing these questions, How to be a historian develops a fascinating new perspective on the history of historiography. It challenges conventional narratives of professionalization by demonstrating that the identity of the ‘professional’ was often contested. At the same time, it shows that personae could be remarkably stable, especially in relation to race, class and gender assumptions. With chapters by Monika Baár, Ian Hunter, Q. Edward Wang and other recognized specialists, How to be a historian covers historical studies across Europe, North America, Africa and East Asia, throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, in liberal democracies and authoritarian regimes alike. The volume will appeal not only to readers of historiography, but to all historians who occasionally wonder: what kind of a historian do I want to be?

Bryce Lyon, François Louis Ganshof and the biography of Pirenne
Henning Trüper

the finitude of personae Chapter 11 The finitude of personae: Bryce Lyon, François Louis Ganshof and the biography of Pirenne Henning Trüper Introduction Among the tools that aim to explain the cultural production of ‘social frames’ for the ‘presentation of self’ (Erving Goffman) in science and scholarship, the concept of the scholarly persona is unique in its focus on the specifically moral nature of the frames in question. The concept is tied to the ‘epistemic virtues’ – and possibly some vices, too – that are thought to inform the production of knowledge.1

in How to be a historian
Negotiating scholarly personae in UNESCO’s General History of Africa
Larissa Schulte Nordholt

. It is also necessary to stress that the GHA was, first and foremost, a top–bottom initiative and, on top of that, its authors were almost exclusively male. Although the project aims had stated that the volumes were to reach a large audience on the African continent, the Africans who worked on the GHA were invariably highly educated.54 The need to conform to scholarly standards taught in European and North American universities, and the epistemic virtues that accompanied those standards, such as a particular Eurocentric ideal of objectivity, sometimes collided with

in How to be a historian
Abstract only
Scholarly personae: what they are and why they matter
Herman Paul

Gesellschaft, 1 (1975), 539–60, at 542; Paul Nolte, Hans-Ulrich Wehler: Historiker und Zeitgenosse (Munich: C. H. Beck, 2015), p. 9; Leopold von Ranke, Das Briefwerk, ed. Walther Peter Fuchs (Hamburg: Hoffmann und Campe, 1949), pp 123, 126; Jeroen van Dongen and Herman Paul, ‘Introduction: epistemic virtues in the sciences and the humanities’, in Van Dongen and Paul (eds), Epistemic Virtues in the Sciences and the Humanities (Cham: Springer, 2017), pp 1–10 (and the literature mentioned there). 30 I develop this argument in a book manuscript provisionally entitled ‘The

in How to be a historian
Abstract only
Rob Boddice

point out, it is ‘perhaps conceivable that an epistemology without an ethos may exist, but we have yet to encounter one’. 20 An individual who internalises a particular ethos, who understands and lives by the values inherent in a system of knowledge/practice, and who is also efficacious ‘in securing knowledge’ through and for that system, is described as having ‘epistemic virtue’. 21 This analysis, which is the basis of Objectivity , is in effect a re-statement of the ‘moral economy of science’, though the habitus of the group is now understood as an ethos, while

in The history of emotions
Archives and collecting on the frontiers of data-driven science
Antonia Walford

troped ‘If everything is information’ 121 as an overwhelming “‘avalanche”, “flood” or “rush” of data found in contemporary postgenomics and other fields in science … and the creative, tacit epistemic virtues that I call “care of the data”, the adroit, artful and cautious handling of large data sets that permit both multiple interpretations and multiple errors’ (Fortun 2015: 36). This relation between data, care and intense engagement is also played out at the LBA research sites, as those involved with caring for the data construct intimate relationships with it that

in Ethnography for a data-saturated world
The English Revolution debate of 1940–41
Sina Talachian

bursting with explanatory power that was intended to bring to an end the dominance of ‘bourgeois’ historiography and displace the persona of the ‘bourgeois’ historian.5 By relying on meticulous study of primary sources and eschewing overly reductive economic determinism, as was common among his classical Marxist predecessors,6 Hill and other members of the Group active in academia had abided by the epistemic virtues promulgated within the discipline. However, at the same time they also maintained a commitment to distinctively Marxist epistemic, moral and political goods

in How to be a historian
French historiography from the 1870s to the 1950s
Camille Creyghton

chemical synthesis with art.22 Hence, in Febvre’s as in Monod’s case, there is a fusion of repertoires derived from science, such as the epistemic virtues of objectivity or the values of proof and certainty, and other repertoires, derived from art and pointing in the direction of personal involvement and imagination. The persona of the historian they constructed was a synthesis in itself that could not be captured with the name of Michelet alone, and was strategically directed against other – too one-sidedly erudite – historians. Most importantly, however, there appears

in How to be a historian
The fabrication of an immobile culture of nineteenth- century exploration
Natalie Cox

, and an explorer’s remote observations had to be proved credible in order to be trusted. Whilst this trust was often bound to an individual’s ‘epistemic virtue’, namely that they were of proven good character and moral standing, exploration was also ‘a kind of ritual in manly virtue’. 66 Livingstone became a walking ‘body of evidence’, physically showcasing what he had acquired and the act of acquiring. 67 His figure was often represented in moments of active encounter, typically emerging as a ‘heroic figure’ or as an ‘exemplar of civilization, order, and culture

in Empire and mobility in the long nineteenth century
A pragmatist responds to epistemic and other kinds of frictions in the academy 
Susan Saegert

students’ intervention aimed not only to have their stories and voices heard but also to make sure that the toes they stepped on hurt. It seems doubtful that practising epistemic virtue alone would be a sufficient response and, beyond the goal of changing the balance of power, the students wanted the actual conditions of their education to change through concrete practices such as hiring initiatives and redistribution of resources. Those demands would be very hard to realise, however, given the austerity practices and institutional reorganisations taking place within the

in The power of pragmatism