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History's BabelScholarship, Professionalization, and the Historical Enterprise in the United States, 1880 - 1940$
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Robert B. Townsend

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780226923925

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226923949.001.0001

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(p.180) (p.181) Conclusion
History's Babel

Robert B. Townsend

University of Chicago Press

The fragmentation of large areas of history work into separate professional organizations in the late 1930s led to the demise of the historical enterprise. Although the various history professions still interacted and often even collaborated on issues of common concern, they firmed up their own networks and identities in increasing isolation from one another and embarked on separate processes of specialization and technical refinement. Within a decade following World War I, the number of new history PhDs conferred each year more than doubled. Outside the American Historical Association (AHA), the organizations that represented other areas of professional history work generally thrived over the same period. On subjects ranging from teaching to archives and publishing, the AHA carried out its activities as separate spheres of work with their own professional codes and best practices. Many in the association realized the profound consequences of separating from branches of the historical enterprise that lay outside of academia.

Keywords:   history, professional organizations, historical enterprise, history professions, American Historical Association, archives, publishing, academia

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