What Kind of Historian Are You?

First of all, I apologize for my absence. We currently have no internet at my apartment, and I am awaiting the arrival of such this week. I have about a thousand posts prepped but no way to post! Carry on, you are saying, I know it, so read on::

I tend to contemplate many things, and one of the many things that I’ve recently contemplated is what kind of historian I am. That shouldn’t be that difficult of a question, seeing as there are a million-and-a-half different historical lenses. In my workshop for historians class I took my freshman year of college, we learned about gender theory, economic theory, paradigms, the “imagined communities” theory, etc. And since then, I tried to fit myself into a category.

The question I asked myself was, “What kind of historian am I?”

I wrestled with this question for the last couple of years. I enjoy certain periods of history, especially late medieval and early modern British history (if my observant readers haven’t noticed :)). But I’ve realized I don’t subscribe to any particular “theory” of history as my specialty. I’m not specifically a military historian or a gender historian or an economic historian. I would like to describe myself as a “multi-thematic historian”. I like to incorporate different lenses in interpreting history. I enjoy meshing these different lenses together to explain or expound upon facts I’ve come across. A prime example of this was my senior thesis.

The title perhaps explains it the best. I entitled my capstone project “Of Lady Argonauts and Gold Fever: Women’s Economic Experiences in the California and Yukon Gold Rushes”. Immediately two lenses become apparent. I incorporate both gender and economic histories in explaining the phenomenon of women in gold mining camps. Now, I won’t bore you with an in-depth explanation of my argument, but suffice to say that it talked a lot about economics and women.

The thing is, this isn’t the first time this “multi-thematic” tendency has happened…

And yes, they looked that fake as well…

For the record, that picture was taken at the Falstaff Experience, a Tudor England museum in Stratford, UK…

In any case, I wrote and presented a paper exploring the socioeconomic impacts of the Black Death in Europe and the Middle East. Again, note the dual exploration of social AND economic lenses. I can name about a couple of other pieces I’ve written implementing different lenses. Now, dear readers, I must ask, what type of historian do you find yourself to be? Is the term “multi-thematic” incorrect? Or, do you find yourself in a very similar position? I’m truly curious and would love to get to know my reader base more (goodness knows I ramble enough!)!

Your thoughts?


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