Arguing for history: If not skills, then what?

The quiet, leafy corner of Twitter where I spend increasing amounts of my time exploded this morning with responses to the following statement: Society doesn't need a 21-year-old who is a sixth century historian. It needs a 21-year-old who really understands how to analyse things, understands the tenets of leadership and contributing to society, who … Continue reading Arguing for history: If not skills, then what?

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Skills are not the answer: further thoughts on (not) selling history

[This continues an earlier post.] To pick up where I left off: Historians, history departments, and historical organizations are -- rightly -- worried about a decline in the study of history at the undergraduate level. There is no clear evidence for any one cause driving this decline, but a mixture of structural changes to the economy and … Continue reading Skills are not the answer: further thoughts on (not) selling history

Skills, Knowledge, and (Not) Selling History

Why study history? What can I do with a history degree? Why is the history major in decline? These three questions, or variations of them, seem to have been with us forever, or at least as long as I've been studying history (taking in college, that's about twenty years). They're the titles of campus workshops. They're … Continue reading Skills, Knowledge, and (Not) Selling History

The Great Alchemist Bragadini

[Update: My post scratches the surface, but there's a much more thorough and detailed exploration of Bragadini's earlier career here, for anyone interested.] Like magic, astrology, and other endeavours now found in the "occult" section (it's in the back, just follow the patchouli scent), alchemy can be hard for non-occultists to take seriously. On the other hand, early modern alchemy has … Continue reading The Great Alchemist Bragadini

Nothing fails like success

Academics love failure, kind of. I say this not only to avoid the stack of undergraduate papers I'm supposed to have graded already and the even larger stack of manuscript pages I'm supposed to have reviewed, but also as a reflection on the runaway success of Princeton psychology professor Johannes Haushofer's "CV of failures." This list … Continue reading Nothing fails like success