History's BabelScholarship, Professionalization, and the Historical Enterprise in the United States, 1880 - 1940

History's BabelScholarship, Professionalization, and the Historical Enterprise in the United States, 1880 - 1940

Robert B. Townsend

Print publication date: 2013

ISBN: 9780226923925

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

Abstract

From the late nineteenth century until World War II, competing spheres of professional identity and practice redrew the field of history, establishing fundamental differences between the roles of university historians, archivists, staff at historical societies, history teachers, and others. This book takes us from the beginning of this professional shift—when the work of history included not just original research, but also teaching and the gathering of historical materials—to a state of microprofessionalization that continues to define the field today. Drawing on extensive research among the records of the American Historical Association and a multitude of other sources, the book traces the slow fragmentation of the field from 1880 to the divisions of the 1940s manifest today in the diverse professions of academia, history teaching, and public history. By revealing how the founders of the contemporary historical enterprise envisioned the future of the discipline, it offers insight into our own historical moment and the way the discipline has adapted and changed over time.