How Historians work, writing history. Research and writing history, historical methods and approaches, interviews with historians, history careers, historians, historians’ responsibility to the public. Articles, podcasts and videos from many sources.
Go to Century Past History Resources for a directory of all pages.
To research historical newspapers and be successful, it helps to be educated about the characteristics of these important history and genealogy resources; where to find them, and how to best search for the articles that you are seeking.
Ancestor Hunt 2017
Impress employers with your positivity and attention to detail, says our Cambridge expert on research jobs
Steve Joy, The Guardian, 2015
Local history is one of the most popular forms of history in Australia. Yet there is a yawning gap between the enthusiastic amateur and the academic historian. While some academic historians engage with local history, sadly there is an entrenched snobbery from the academy. From the other side, the enthusiastic amateur is too wound up with a parochial approach to local history and often doesn’t see the bigger picture.
Ian Willis, The Conversation 2012
Jill Lepore on writing the story of America, the rise and fall of the fact, and how women’s intellectual authority is undermined
Evan Goldstein, Chronicle of Higher Education 2018
Why does U.S. history, as it’s predominantly conceived and taught, start with the English colonies? Why does the narrative structure in which we embed US history unfold in an inflexibly east-to-west pattern?
Dr. Kevin Gannon, Teaching United States History 2015
Billy Smith, a Professor of History at Montana State University, joins us as part of our “Doing History: How Historians Work” series to lead us on an exploration of how historians organize and access their research.
Billy Smith, Ben Franklin’s World Episode 97
A rejoinder to a New York Times Op-Ed by Frederik Logevall and Kenneth Osgood titled, “Why Did We Stop Teaching Political History?”
Gabriel Rosenberg and Ariel Ron, Lawyers, Guns & Money 2016
North Carolina GOP state Rep. Larry Pittman argued that Abraham Lincoln was “the same sort (of) tyrant” as Adolf Hitler, and was “personally responsible” for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans in an “unnecessary and unconstitutional” war. This line of reasoning, which posits that the Civil War was a needless and illegal conflict, goes back to Alexander Stephens, vice president of the Confederacy.
Manisha Sinha, NY Daily News 2017
Dr. Kate Evans works for ABC RN’s Books and Arts and Books Plus programs. She has also worked on a number of TV history programs. She describes some of her work here.
Kate Evans, Australian Women’s History Network 2017
David Trowbridge, associate professor of history, is working on Clio, a web and mobile app that identifies a user’s geolocation to deliver historical information about the surrounding area through text, images, and video.
Kritika Agarwal, Perspectives on History 2016
Digital History is an approach to examining and representing the past that works with the new communication technologies of the computer, the internet network, and software systems.â€ What does it realistically mean to practice and create digital history rather than, say, performing traditional academic research?
One episode in an 11-part series, ‘The Digital in the Humanities’. Sharon M. Leon is associate professor of history and director of Public Projects at the Center for History and New Media (CHNM) at George Mason Univ.
Sharon M. Leon, L.A. Review of Books 2016
A group of Oxford academics wrote this letter following the debate surrounding an article in The Times entitled “Don’t feel guilty about our colonial history” by Nigel Biggar. They express their opposition to the stance of Biggar.
The Conversation 2017
Headlining the jam-packed AHA18 session ‘Historians Writing Historical Fiction’, Laura Kamoie talked about the ways she finds writing academic history and writing historical fiction similar, arguing that “both attempt to link known facts and try to shape them into some kind of a narrative. Both make historical contributions, and both are meant to generate curiosity about the past.”
Elizabeth Elliott, Perspectives on History 2018
Practical details from historical sources may convince us that historical fiction is fact, but, warns Suzannah Lipscomb, such novels are fraught with danger for one in search of the past.
Suzannah Lipscomb, History Today 2016
What is history for and is it dangerous when politicians use it to justify their actions? Can historians explain the past to the public when their careers depend on being published in ways that are inaccessible to non-academics? And how will the history of our times be written: is the “age of information” producing too many tweets and not much else?
Artemis Photiadou, London School of Economics and Political Science 2016
The AHA’s “Where Historians Work” is an ambitious research project designed to track the career outcomes of everyone who earned a PhD in history from 2004–13 in the United States.
Dylan Ruediger, Perspectives on History 2018
Kevin Birmingham, Chronicle of Higher Education 2017
Heyworth is a textual scientist; he and his lab work on new ways to read ancient manuscripts and maps using spectral imaging technology. In this fascinating talk, watch as Heyworth shines a light on lost history, deciphering texts that haven’t been read in thousands of years.
Gregory Heyworth, TED Talks 2015
‘Is this story true?’ readers invevitably ask. In the first of her BBC Reith Lectures, the double Man Booker prize-winning author explores the complicated relationship between history, fact and fiction
Hilary Mantel, The Guardian 2017
Bill O’Reilly is at it again. Whatever merits the Fox News pundit may have as a commentator on current events, his endeavors in historical scholarship are less than stellar. Now he has publicly stated that slaves were well-fed and cared for.
Nick Sacco, Exploring the Past 2016
Karen L. Cox, CNN 2017
Moshik Temkin, NY Times 2017
This is the first of a five-part series on teaching history in the digital age.
Michael B. Smith, Process blog 2015
Historians research history in archives. But how do you gain access to one? And how do you use an archive once you find that it likely contains the information you seek? Peter Drummey, an archivist and Librarian at the Massachusetts Historical Society.
Peter Drummey, Ben Franklin’s World Episode 75
“How did enslaved African and African American women experience slavery?
What were their daily lives like? And how do historians know as much as they do about enslaved women? Jennifer Morgan on how historians research history.”
Jennifer Morgan, Ben Franklin’s World Episode 70
Historians rely on secondary historical sources almost as much as they rely on primary historical sources. But what are secondary historical sources and how do they help historians know what they know about the past?
Michael McDonnell, Ben Franklin’s World Episode 88
In its annual meeting 2017, the American Historical Association discussed a wide spread of subjects, regarding many topics from different angles and times. We asked the Association’s President, Prof. James Grossman, about the impression the annual meeting left on him. He also told us about the situation of the humanities in general and the role of historians in particular under the current political circumstances in the United States of America.
Felix Stadler, L.I.S.A. 2017
Jean-Pierre Morin, National Council on Public History 2017
Zara Anishanslin, an Assistant Professor of History at CUNY’s College of Staten Island, leads us on an exploration of how historians read historical sources by taking us through the documents and objects left behind by four everyday people.
Zara Anishanslin, Ben Franklin’s World
A Pulitzer Prize winner’s calling seemed inevitable, but only in retrospect.
Eric Foner, The Pulitzer Prizes
Tudor statesman Thomas Cromwell was described by an eminent historian as “not biographable”. Faced with an intractable puzzle, can a novelist do better? Hilary Mantel, Author of “Wolf Hal” and its sequel describes her ten-year effort to pin her compelling and elusive subject to the page.
Hilary Mantel, The Huntington 2016
History is a dangerous thing. Parallels between contemporary events and history are all too easy to arrive at. In unskilled hands, historical events can be manhandled to seemingly deliver lessons and solutions to apparently intractable contemporary problems. This is ‘instrumentalising’ history.
Dr. Huw J. Davies, Defense in Depth
Edward L. Ayers, the president of the University of Richmond, has written 10 books about the Civil War, the South and American history. He also co-hosts the public radio program Backstory.
Stephen L. Petranek, HistoryNet 2011
In her new book ‘More Perfect Unions: The American Search for Marital Bliss’ (Harvard University Press, 2010), University of Delaware historian Rebecca L. Davis explores the evolution of the uniquely American idea that successful marriages are essential not only for personal happiness, but also for the nation’s well-being.
Linda Lee, HistoryNet 2010
Ira Berlin, a historian who sifted through millions of documents to revive the voices of ordinary African Americans from the struggle for emancipation, and who helped demonstrate that slavery was a complex, ever-evolving institution at the core of American history, died June 5, 2018.
Harrison Smith, Washington Post 2018
Every year, universities across Britain and beyond place hundreds of advertisements on jobs.ac.uk seeking to appoint historians to academic posts. Although accessing this data is not easy and analysing is far from straightforward, recent listings do provide some potentially useful information about the state of the academic job market for historians.
Brodie Waddell, the many-headed monster 2016
For two-time Pulitzer winner Alan Taylor, the New Social History proved to be a good tool for enriching American stories.
Alan Taylor, The Pulitzer Prizes
Scholarly reading remains an obscure, self-taught process of assembling, absorbing, and strategically deploying the writing of others.
Joli Jensen, Chronicle of Higher Education 2018
Stephanie Kingsley, Perspectives on History 2017
When do contemporary affairs become history? What are the responsibilities and obligations of those who propose to write that history and of those who help to make it? One man’s view is conveyed in this elaboration of an address to the American Historical Association.
Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., The Atlantic 1967
How can global history can be applied instead of advocated? Discussion by panel.
James Belich, Elleke Boehmer, Richard Drayton, Hannah-Louise Clark, Univ. of Oxford 2016
Jill Lepore is the David Woods Kemper ’41 Professor of American History at Harvard University, a longtime staff writer at the New Yorker, an accomplished essayist, and a public voice for producing historical work that engages with audiences well beyond the classroom. Her publications have attended to technologies of evidence and writing, to the craft of historical writing itself, and to subjects as wide-ranging as Wonder Woman and board games.
B. R. Cohen, Public Books 2017
A review by the historian’s professional association (in the U.S.) of the existing standards for entry into the profession, and a call for reform.
Ephraim Emerton, Annual report of the American Historical Association. … 1893, page 79. HathiTrust
What are the methodological and scholarly challenges of working in the history of emotions? What theoretical tools do we bring to bear on medieval emotions, and which have we tended to neglect? These questions guided the “Medieval Emotions and Contemporary Methodologies” research workshop held at Birkbeck, University of London, on 8 July 2016.
Rebecca F. McNamara, Histories of Emotion 2016
Marc Parry, Chronicle of Higher Education 2013
Francisco Herrera interviews Juliet Hooker about her new book ‘Theorizing Race in the Americas: Douglass, Sarmiento, Du Bois, and Vasconcelos’, which will be released on May 1 by Oxford University Press. Juliet Hooker is Associate Professor of Government and African and African Diaspora Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. She is a political theorist specializing in comparative political theory, critical race theory, and multiculturalism, and has also published widely on Afro-descendant and indigenous politics and multicultural rights in Latin America.
Francisco Herrera, Black Perspectives 2017
Our thirst for knowledge sometimes leads us to imbibe falsehoods bottled as truth. The so-called Information Age is too often a Misinformation Age.
Julian Baggini, Aeon
Jessica Derleth, Perspectives on History 2017
Katy Lasdow chats with Dr. Alea Henle, Head of Public Services Librarian at the J. Cloyd Miller Library at Western New Mexico University. The pair discuss the importance of “knowing your audience” as a historian and “self-knowledge” when it comes to thinking about next steps for a career.
Katy Lasdow, The Junto 2017
An interactive, online database that catalogues the career outcomes of the 8,523 historians who earned PhDs at U.S. universities from 2004 and 2013. Powered by Tableau, ‘Where Historians Work’ provides the fullest picture of PhD careers available for any discipline.
American Historical Association
“You might just find the story of a lifetime”: archivists help to uncover our incredible history in Dorset
Two archivists are dusting off documents and breathing fresh life into Dorset History Centre. They are keen to share just why the centre is such an important resource for the community. It’s the key to unlocking millions of memories, from family letters to hundreds of years worth of official council documents.
Jennifer Rees, Dorset Echo 2017