There was no golden age for historians or history writing. @Historiann brings the fire. http://t.co/4bTkpm23qS
— Joseph M. Adelman (@jmadelman) October 15, 2015
Earlier today I published a post on Robert Zaretsky’s article in the Chronicle of Higher Education in which the University of Houston professor laments, among other things, the failure of historians to tell stories in their work. He also points to an earlier generation of historians who seemed to have a larger audience and more cultural influence because they wrote for the public. Finally, he offers a pretty depressing account of life in graduate school.
Historiann, aka Anne Little, the prolific blogger and Colorado State University history professor, is having none of it. Here is a taste of her post:
Seriously? The “we’ve forgotten how to tell stories” line again?…Whenever I see that old line trotted out about “dying a death by a thousand monographs,” I see someone getting ready to push someone else out of the lifeboat, or at least hear him tell some kids to get off his lawn.
Enough of the “golden age” fantasies about the awesome, well-paid, and always well-respected scholars of yore. When is your imagined “golden age” for history in these United States–the early and mid-nineteenth century, when only Gentlemen Scholars wrote history and bent it to their Protestant, white, male, triumphalist ends? Just how many of those historians were actually making a living at it? Just about Alrightythen.