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Being a Historian: An Introduction to the Professional World by James M. Banner Jr

By James M. Banner Jr

In response to the author's greater than 50 years of expertise as a certified historian in educational and different capacities, Being a Historian is addressed to either aspiring and mature historians. It deals an outline of the nation of the self-discipline of historical past this day and the issues that confront it and its practitioners in lots of professions. James M. Banner Jr. argues that historians stay inadequately ready for his or her speedily altering specialist international and that the self-discipline as an entire has but to confront a lot of its deficiencies. He additionally argues that, not wanting to comply immediately to the educational perfect, historians can now extra accurately and productively than ever earlier than adapt to their very own visions, temperaments, and pursuits as they soak up their obligations as students, academics, and public practitioners. severe whereas additionally positive, this paintings indicates many themes for additional scholarly exploration, study, and debate.

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Extra resources for Being a Historian: An Introduction to the Professional World of History

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Rare was the case of historians challenging historians (or challenging the entire discipline, as Charles A. 21 Within history, homogeneity and comity generally prevailed. In fact, after the successful 1907 protest of Jameson and like-minded historians of his generation against the genteel orthodoxy of the AHA’s first three decades, the next principal “revolt” from within – the formation in the late 1930s of the Society of American Historians after the AHA refused to create a popular history magazine – arose not over intellectual issues but over the perceived decline in a public audience for history, a matter seen then, as it often is now, as a question of writing style and flair and entirely within the ability of historians to address and solve.

The term “usable past” was exhumed from earlier use by Henry Steele Commager in a 1965 essay and used as the title of his The Search for a Usable Past and Other Essays in Historiography (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1967). The first to use the term may have been Van Wyck Brooks in America’s Coming-of-Age (New York: B. W. Huebsch, 1915). See Karal Ann Marling, Wall-to-Wall America: Post Office Murals in the Great Depression (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1982), 72. The Discipline and Professions of History 25 broad optimism about the relevance and pleasures of historical knowledge.

26 Not surprisingly, given the withdrawal of teachers from its ranks, the AHA and its now disproportionately academic members themselves stepped back from the schools. The association’s Committee on Teaching continued its labors, and individual historians continued to undertake episodic work with the schools and their textbooks. But the discipline as a whole reoriented itself away from primary and secondary education. Historians’ involvement with the federal government, starting before the First World War but given focus and clear applicability after the nation’s entry into armed conflict, is more widely known and recognized than the work of their colleagues in the schools and media.

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