Originally published 07/01/2013
Anthony T. Grafton is a professor of history at Princeton University and a former president of the American Historical Association. James Grossman is executive director of the association.Have you heard about the classics major who intends to be a military surgeon? Or the employers who think entry-level interviewees ought to show up having read the company history? No, of course you haven't.Those people are not just unmentionable, they're unthinkable—at least in the vast, buzzing worlds of the news media, the blogosphere, and the many TED Talks. No one who studies the humanities could possibly have a practical career in view, anymore than someone who has a practical career in view would ever bother studying the humanities, right? And in the corporate world, only the CEOs, not the HR people, value a liberal education. Why would a company like Enterprise Rent-A-Car care if a prospective employee took the initiative to read the company history? What could the study of the past contribute to a career in, say, medicine?
Originally published 01/29/2013
James Grossman is executive director of the American Historical Association. Elaine Carey is vice president for the Teaching Division of the association and chair of the history department at St. John's University, in New York.Historians welcome informed debate. It is precisely what attracted many of us to the discipline in the first place. Thus our initial reaction to a recent report by the National Association of Scholars, "Recasting History: Are Race, Class, and Gender Dominating American History?," was to engage the ideas, explore the research model, and open a conversation about different ways of understanding history. This report, however, does not contribute to informed debate.
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