Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Is a good colonial history scholar hard to find? 

Michael Barone asks this question, noting that many are retiring, and being replaced by scholars in other fields. He quotes Lance Banning from Kentucky thus:
I don't know if I'd say that universities are deliberately discouraging the history of the Founding, but some individual historians certainly would; and there is certainly a sort of systemic problem. Academics, of course, are hired, for practical purposes, by majority vote of existing departments. Academics in general are as captivated by fads and fashions as any group I can think of, and the political, intellectual, diplomatic and miltary history of the Revolution and the Founding are decidedly out of fashion at the moment. Many history departments have little interest in hiring anyone who specializes in these sorts of interests, and a good many teachers of graduate students may well discourage such interests because they do not seem as attractive to hiring departments as studies in race, gender, identity and the like.
Here at SCSU? Decide for yourself, our own Scholar Marie notwithstanding. (Hat tip: David Beito.)