Search results

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
The English Revolution debate of 1940–41
Sina Talachian

how to be a historian Chapter 8 The emergence of the English Marxist historian’s scholarly persona: the English Revolution debate of 1940–41 Sina Talachian Introduction Otto Sibum and Lorraine Daston define a persona as ‘a cultural identity that simultaneously shapes the individual in body and mind and creates a collective with a shared and recognizable physiognomy... creatures of historical circumstance; they emerge and disappear within specific contexts’.1 The Marxist historian is one such persona or social species which emerged within specific contexts

in How to be a historian
Abstract only
The Romantic man of letters in the university era
Travis E. Ross

professionalization of history writing within American academe and a handful of increasingly professionalized state and local historical societies. Something did change around Bancroft’s enterprise, but I argue that it was not the scholarly persona of the historian, the shared set of assumptions that defined a good historian and the best practices of the craft. Just as importantly, I argue that academic professionalization did not create – nor even attempt to create – a new scholarly persona. Instead, early academics worked to create the infrastructure to train and to sustain

in How to be a historian
The emergence and characteristics of modern scholarly personae in China, 1900–30
Q. Edward Wang

elements. The differences and complexity were demonstrated not only in how these scholars conducted scholarly activities in historical research and writing but also in where they conducted research and how their scholarly pursuit demonstrated sociopolitical virtues while living through this transitional age in Chinese history. With regard to the external requisite of their scholarly persona, the first two of the four began their scholarly activities outside an academic institution while the other two, who were a generation younger, established their careers in a modern

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

were part of the scholarly persona of historians working on a postcolonial history project funded by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the General History of Africa (l’Histoire générale de l’Afrique), which I will introduce in a more detailed way in the following section and refer to as the GHA. I will illustrate how the framework of the scholarly persona may be used to interrogate the paradox of ‘double-consciousness’, or working with different perspectives, within the GHA and how the historians working on the GHA

in How to be a historian
The scholarly persona under authoritarianism
Monika Baár

how to be a historian Chapter 9 Of communism, compromise and Central Europe: the scholarly persona under authoritarianism Monika Baár Introduction What does it take to be a (good) historian under a system of institutionalized repression? What kind of professional and ethical choices are scholars compelled to make and what motivates them in reaching these decisions? What are the implications of the exposure to an oppressive regime for one’s professional career and does the study of scholarly persona in ‘exceptional conditions’ endorse, refine or refute existing

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

external, stemming from the fact that they are contested from outside or in competition with each other. When they introduced the concept of personae, Lorraine Daston and Otto Sibum used it to describe at a macro level how different historical societies conceive of the social position of the ‘scientist’ or ‘scholar’ and ascribe a special kind of cultural identity or personhood to it. Frictions, then, are conceived as dissonances between the prevailing scholarly persona in a society and the ways in which individual scientists 84 generational continuities and composite

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

; Sidney M. Bolkosky, ‘From the book to the survivor’, in Samuel Totten (ed.), Working to Make a Difference: The Personal and Pedagogical Stories of Holocaust Educators Across the Globe (Lanham, MD: Lexington, 2003), pp 1–30, at p. 2.  6 In replacing ‘scientific personae’ with ‘scholarly personae’, I seek to emphasize that personae can be found throughout the academic spectrum, not only in what is nowadays known as ‘science’.  7 My distinctions correspond to Gadi Algazi’s typology in ‘Exemplum and Wundertier: three concepts of the scholarly persona’, Low Countries

in How to be a historian
Historians and their personae in the Portuguese New State
António da Silva Rêgo

mixture of nationalism, corporatism, conservatism, Catholicism and traditionalism, the New State regime nonetheless propagated the ideal of a ‘New Man’,2 which it described in language in which virtues and vices featured quite prominently. In this chapter I argue that scholarly personae offer a helpful lens for understanding the professionalization of history in Portugal. I define a scholarly persona as a constellation of commitments to goods, embodied through the cultivation of virtues and the honing of skills and practices, which together characterize the way in which

in How to be a historian