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Encounters Old and New in World HistoryEssays Inspired by Jerry H. Bentley$
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Alan Karras and Laura J. Mitchell

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780824865917

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824865917.001.0001

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World Historians and the Future of Academic History

World Historians and the Future of Academic History

A Research Manifesto

(p.15) One World Historians and the Future of Academic History
Encounters Old and New in World History

Alan Karras

University of Hawai'i Press

This essay explores the relationship between academic training in history and teaching world history. Historians are almost always trained to do original archival research, which generally leads to detailed, but narrow, studies. When they are hired into academic positions, they are required to teach outside of their comfort zones, with a survey course in world history being at the extreme end of such requests. But the general public, including many students, is interested in larger questions about the relationship between history and the contemporary world. There is therefore a disconnect between historical training and public discourse, which Jerry Bentley and others tried to bridge, which has unfortunately led to the marginalization of historians in public debate. Historians can again be relevant to public life by broadening their research and/or contextualizing it differently, so that it is located in a wider geographic and intellectual space. World history is a fine start to this process.

Keywords:   Jerry Bentley, world history, teaching, archival research, comparative history, evidence, public discourse, historical training, professional development

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