Perspectives on History

Is the wider world in historians' "peripheral vision"?

  • 1.  Is the wider world in historians' "peripheral vision"?

    Posted 07-15-2013 11:36:00 AM

    Are historians still largely interested in their own nations, cultures, and societies, at the expense of the wider world? Data compiled by Luke Clossey and Nicholas Guyatt on almost 2,400 historians from nearly 60 history departments in the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada suggest that may be the case. Despite continued calls for broader interpretations and attention to neglected regions, they claim, historians in these countries remain focused on "the West," and especially areas of the West where they live. 

    We published a summary of this research in Perspectives on History in May 2013. To continue the conversation, we invited several prominent historians to comment. The resulting forum appears online in the Perspectives summer edition.

    We hope our readers will join the conversation by reading the short articles below and posting their questions and ideas on this discussion board.

    It's a Small World After All: The Wider World in Historian's Peripheral Vision by Luke Clossy and Nicholas Guyatt

    Introduction to the AHA Roundtable by Kenneth Pomeranz

    Historical Thinking Needs Global Engagement by Mary Elizabeth Berry

    Not "Them," but "Us" by Anne Gerritsen

    Widths Within and Without by Kenneth Mills


    Supporting an Expanded View by Teofilo F. Ruiz

    Peripheral Vision: The Authors' Response


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    Allen Mikaelian
    Editor, Perspectives on History
    American Historical Assoc.
    Washington DC
    amikaelian@historians.org
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  • 2.  RE:Is the wider world in historians' "peripheral vision"?

    Posted 08-12-2013 11:00:00 AM
    Thanks for posting this message about our data on historians' research geographies. The initial responses have been almost uniformly positive, although corrections have been offered for some of our specific classifications of historians. Perhaps most helpful from the AHA Roundtable has been the respondents' specific suggestions of how to move forward. It's perhaps easy for everyone to agree (publicly at least) that the history of the wider world is important, but the trick will be finding ways to allow this easy agreement to have real consequences in our hiring and research priorities. There's also going to be a roundtable on this issue at the Institute of Historical Research in London in September.

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    Luke Clossey
    Simon Fraser Univ.
    Burnaby BC
    lclossey@sfu.ca
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