Episide 49: How to be a historian – Episode 2

Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

‘History is a continuous process of interaction between the historian and his facts’. E.H. Carr (1892 – 1982)

Welcome to Histories of the Unexpected where you will discover the history of things that you did not know had a history; like the history of the smile, or the history of the itch. For this episode let us join the Sherlock Holmes of archival research, Professor James Daybell, and the Doctor Watson of naval history, Dr Sam Willis, as they throw their graduation caps into the air as they continue their mini-series of ‘How to be a Historian’.

James and Sam discuss how they became the historians they are today, such as James’ childhood interest in the Second World War as a result of a primary school project, Sam’s one year try out of an archaeology degree, the teachers and tutors which inspired them and the subjects which captivated them as they entered academia, from the Royal Navy to Tudor and Stuart women.

They will discuss what it is about history that makes them so passionate. For James this is searching deep into the archives for primary sources to support his research whereas Sam prefers the creative challenge it poses. The dynamic duo will also discuss the path post- undergraduate degree and beyond to the job market as an academic historian, briefly explaining what can be expected and the qualifications needed to pursue this career choice.

Our two history buffs prove that there is more to the study of history than books and the school curriculum; for there’s adventure, mystery and intrigue. As Histories of the Unexpected proves, there is more to historical events, subjects, figures and places than meets the eye.

Make sure you also take time to spot the difference between a disengaged school pupil and a Doctor of history complaining about their teachers!

‘The more you know of your history, the more liberated you are’. Maya Angelou (1928 – 2014).

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