Thursday, October 29, 2009

History of lathing, or History as lathing

When I was an undergrad thirty years ago all the old profs gave you a history, and all the young profs gave you a methodology when one asked them what they were.
Is one a historian of France or the Canadian prairies or the Renaissance, or rather a social historian, a cultural historian, a quantitative historian? Edge of the American West thinks it's mostly the second these days, and suggests historians should be addressing problems in history rather than simply practising a method. (The comments are good too)

Update, November 2: Jim Belshaw comments:
Cultural history is just as much a field as any geography or time limited area. My personal view is that there is remarkably little discussion on history method. I think that it’s partly because historians lack the skills required to discuss either history philosophy or methodology.

The problem, I think, is that these discussions actually threaten historians because they challenge their competence in their craft.
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