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?

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Scholarly personae: what they are and why they matter

historiography – that is, not the biographical self, but the scholarly self as it is moulded and shaped in accordance with prevailing models of habit, virtue, skill or competence. Various chapters in this volume show how discipline formation in historical studies went hand in hand with a disciplining of the historian’s body and mind through educational practices, social expectations or political pressures. Examining historical studies with an eye to personae that schematically embodied the features characterizing a true historian at a given time and place therefore draws

in How to be a historian
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Pairs of personae in nineteenth-century German historiography

’, Low Countries Historical Review, 131:4 (2016), 33–54. See also Richard Kirwan, ‘Introduction: scholarly self-fashioning and the cultural history of universities’, in Kirwan (ed.), Scholarly Self-Fashioning and Community in the Early Modern University (Farnham: Ashgate, 2013), pp 1–20. 49 Fernand Braudel, ‘Histoire et sciences sociales: la longue durée’, Annales, 13 (1958), 725–53. 50 Paul Lucier, ‘The origins of pure and applied science in gilded age America’, Isis, 103 (2012), 527–36; R. Steven Turner, ‘Historicism, Kritik and the Prussian professorate, 1790 to

in How to be a historian
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consider what the new emphasis on natural history meant for aspiring naturalists on the margins of empire. Chapter 4 assesses the problems encountered by men of science in late colonial Spanish America and examines how these impediments impacted upon the scholarly self-confidence of American-based savants. Chapter 5 looks at the strategies deployed by creole naturalists to counter European

in Conquering nature in Spain and its empire, 1750–1850
Chaucer in the nineteenth-century popular consciousness

young people’s education and scholarly self-realisation. But this survey’s new revelations also offer a range of curiosities and contradictions, along with elaborations of, and exceptions to, existing knowledge – as well as a few entertainments: even a victorious Victorian racehorse named Chaucer. National Chaucer Helen Phillips sees the late Romantic, and long continuing, interest in Chaucer as poet of the past and the natural world as based on ‘the era’s own anxious and conflicted responses to rapid urbanisation’, whereas Charlotte Morse describes the key quality

in Contemporary Chaucer across the centuries
Counterfactual Romanticism and the aesthetics of contingency

realities. They are, however, highly influential, and Saint-Amour ends his counterfactual experiment by considering the affective dimension of scholarly affiliation: ‘If you study realism and realists, you are neither a realism-ist or a realist-ist; you’re a realist, and consequently any neurotic identification or other transferential relationship you may have to the field is underscored, or even solicited, by the terms of your scholarly self-reference. You are invited to think that you are what you study, that field is a byword for ontology.’42 The barriers to rethinking

in Counterfactual Romanticism

growing need for scholarly self-reflection; but it was the academic anniversaries that continued to give rise to the great majority of works of university history. This situation remained unchanged during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.2 1  This chapter is mainly based on Johan Östling, ‘Bortom konventionens gränser: Universitetshistoria som idé- och kunskapshistoria’, in Universitetets gränser, ed. by Peter Josephson & Thomas Karlsohn (Göteborg, forthcoming). 2  The historiography and general character of university histories are discussed in Sheldon Rothblatt

in Humboldt and the modern German university
The English Revolution debate of 1940–41

communist historians’ independence from Soviet and Communist Party (historiographical) ideology, thereby enabling the Group’s formation and the fashioning of a Marxist historian’s scholarly self within it. It is therefore important to pay specific attention to this affair. Rather than trying to argue that it was in fact legitimate to rely on ‘bourgeois’ sources to obtain such knowledge as needed for one’s own, Marxist, epistemic, moral and political commitments, as Torr and other historians in the Group believed, she attacked the legitimacy of one of Kuczynski’s sources

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

. Secondly, the concept gains in explanatory value if it leaves space for a gap between the desired scholarly self and the realized; between ideals and ambitions on one hand and reality on the other. In that way, it accounts for the fact that ideals by definition are not fully realizable, since reality always gets in the way with all its imperfections, demands and distractions, such as political developments that call for an urgent reaction. Until now, indeed, personae have sometimes been conceptualized as unstable, but most often this instability is conceived as something

in How to be a historian
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Representation at the University in Early Modern Germany: Helmstedt and Würzburg, 1576–1634 (Wiesbaden, 2009). 22 M. Füssel, Gelehrtenkultur als symbolische Praxis: Rang, Ritual und Konflikt an der Universität der Frühen Neuzeit (Darmstadt, 2006); R. Kirwan, ed., Scholarly Self-Fashioning and Community in the Early Modern University (Farnham, 2013); R. C. Schwinges, ‘Mit Mückensenf und Hellschepoff: Fest und Freizeit in der Universität des Mittelalters (14. bis 16. Jahrhundert)’, Jahrbuch für Universitätsgeschichte 6 (2003), 11–27. 23 P. Gilli, J. Verger and D. L. Blévec

in Daum’s boys