Monday, May 10, 2010

Carrying an Ivory Tower in one's one forehead

The democratisation of the past is not, of course, an entirely negative process.
Richard Overy is one history professor who does not want to be loved.
Public confusion over what history is as an academic subject derives from the misperception that popular history and popular history writers are doing in some sense real history
Canadian historian Margaret MacMillan, in her 2008 book, The Uses And Abuses Of History, called on her peers to reduce their commitment to theory and to write shorter sentences. To do so would be to dumb down what history as a human science is doing.

The writing of history is intentionally complex and linguistically sophisticated. At the cutting edge of modern research, it has no less reason to be inaccessible than physics or biochemistry.
But he still wants the attention:
By making the work of academic historians more visible in a wider cultural and intellectual milieu, some of the alleged dichotomy between the ivory tower and the marketplace may be overcome.
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