Find a historian (academic or public) currently practicing in your area of interest. Contact them and conduct an interview, either in person, over the phone, or via email, with them regarding their views on what it is to be a historian. Feel free to ask relevant additional questions, but make sure to be respectful of the historian’s time when conducting this interview.
- What is a historian? What is a historian’s role? What makes a lay historian different from a professional historian?
- What is history?
- What type of historian does your historian classify themselves as? What type/area of history does their work/research focus on? What led them to their specialization?
- In their work, how does your historian determine what to include and what to exclude in/from their historical analysis? Why? For example, if their work focuses on gender history but they exclude race/ethnicity from their analysis because their larger focus is the socio-economics of a primarily ethnically homogeneous society.
In addition to interviewing them about their own professional work, also inquire about:
- Ways to stay current on the latest research and developments in their field.
- Current historical trends and where they see the profession heading.
- Professional issues and ethical obligations of historians.
Provide a summary or transcript for each of the above questions (1 to 7).
Along with a summary or transcript of the interview, include a 250-400-word personal reflection. What did you learn from your historian’s answers that surprised you or, if nothing did, confirmed what you already knew. Also, evaluate your own aptitude in the field. Is being a professional historian something that would be a good fit for you? Would you make a good historian?
While Turabian style is not required for the body of this assignment, solid academic writing is expected, and documentation of sources should be presented using Turabian formatting guidelines, which can be found in the Turabian Style Guide, located in the Student Success Center.