Wednesday, December 27, 2006

HNN's Top Young Historians

When I was a student, I started to notice something: historians I had just discovered myself, or who were being taught to me as important authorities, were either very old and retired, or dead. This was a perfectly natural phenomenon, of course, because the books I was reading were not brand new, while my teachers were telling me about scholars who had been particularly influential when my teachers had been grad students. Newer stuff may have been part of the conversation but it was not the basis of the conversation. A student like me would not be focused the absolute cutting edge unless I was reading the new journals as they came out -- something I hardly ever did.

Things have changed a bit since then, some timely scholarly conversations are more easily available -- such as the H-Net book reviews, the Bryn Mawr Classical Review, and The Medieval Review, all on-line. But if you want to know what's going on in professional historical circles right now, it's still a bit of an effort to find out.

Thus I was pleased to see at the History News Network a feature called Top Young Historians. I've just dipped into it, but it seems to include quite a few detailed and personal looks at historians who are now in their late 30s and early 40s (yes, that's young to make a mark in an occupation with a very long apprenticeship). It's put together by a Concordia grad student and HNN editor named Bonnie Goodman, who is getting a very interesting education this way.

So if you want to see one list of historians and topics considered "hot," have a look. Comments on them are welcome.

Also at HNN, Brett Holman's blog Revise and Dissent has a long post on pre-World War I "scares" where hundreds or thousands saw what they were sure were enemy airships or devices built by local inventors. An interesting episode in popular psychology.

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