Blog Symposium: What is a historian?





The argument we're (not quite) having here -- and to which Adam Hochschild in Historically Speaking makes another important contribution -- concerns a series of rich and timeless questions: what exactly is a historian? Should the term be applied only to those who possess doctoral degrees and publishing histories, or are historians a more broad and multifaceted group? Is everyone a historian, as Carl Becker famously argued? And assuming we can define the "wheat" and the "chaff," what separates the two? What does the "trained" historian have to offer that the "amateur" does not, or vice versa?

The questions above merit further discussion -- and I propose to facilitate it in the form of a summer symposium here at ProgressiveHistorians. We'll be following the same model we did last time, and that Cliopatria, from whom we shamelessly stole the idea, has done many times in the past. The rules are as follows: write a response to the bolded prompts above. If you're a contributor at ProgressiveHistorians, post your contribution here [edit: as a stand-alone post, not as a comment in this thread] and I'll link to it in the official symposium post. If not, post your response at your own blog and let me know by e-mail that you've done so; I'll include a link and an excerpt in the official post as well.



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vaughn davis bornet - 6/18/2008

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