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History as a Profession

History as a Profession: The Study of History in France, 1818-1914

Translated by Arnold J. Pomerans
Copyright Date: 1998
Pages: 486
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  • Book Info
    History as a Profession
    Book Description:

    This is a vivid portrait of the French historical profession in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, concluding just before the emergence of the famousAnnalesschool of historians. It places the profession in its social, academic, and political context and shows that historians of the period have been unfairly maligned as amateurish and primitive in comparison to their more celebrated successors.

    Pim den Boer begins by sketching the contours of French historiography in the nineteenth century, examining the quantity of historical writing, its subject matter, and who wrote it. He traces the growing influence of professional historians. He shows the increasing involvement of the national government in historical studies, paying special attention to the impact of political factions, ranging from ultraroyalists to radical republicans. He explores how historical research and teaching changed at schools and universities. And he shows how nineteenth-century historians' keen understanding of the past and of historical methodology laid the foundations for historiography in the twentieth century. archives, including official documents, confidential reports, and personal letters. Den Boer makes use of statistical, biographical, and methodological analysis and demonstrates comprehensive knowledge of both minor historians and leading scholars, including Charles Seignobos and Charles-Victor Langlois.

    Originally published in 1998.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-6484-3
    Subjects: Art & Art History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-x)
    (pp. xi-xii)
    (pp. xiii-2)
  6. CHAPTER 1 The Contours of French Historiography, 1820–1914
    (pp. 3-49)

    “The increase in printed matter published in France over the past few years has been much greater than the increase in the number of people, horses and sheep,” Baron Charles Dupin observed with satisfaction in 1827¹ Among the many causes of this trend the busily computing baron mentioned that more people had learned to read (12 million out of a total population of 26 million, compared with a mere 7 million before the Revolution) and that they were devoting more time to reading Dupin was even able to calculate that people read three hours a month on average, which amounted...

  7. CHAPTER 2 Paying for History
    (pp. 50-117)

    Fortune indeed the historian whose time is his own By far the largest number of historians, however, nowadays practice their craft as paid servants of the state, so much so that we take it for granted that the government should be paying a large number of people to study the past, to teach it to students, and to work in archives In earlier times, when the process of nation building was less advanced, this method was far from usual, not until the nineteenth century was the study of history first patronized by the authorities True, even nowadays the state is...

  8. CHAPTER 3 History at School
    (pp. 118-174)

    On 18 May 1818 the Committee for Public Education (Commission de l’enseignement publique) decided that history and geography lessons in the municipal and royal colleges would henceforth be entrusted to specialist teachers,¹ each taking five two-hour special classes a week By opening up a small but regular job market for historians, that decision helped to turn history into a profession The teaching of history became a way of earning a living

    The subject of teaching history as a special subject had first been broached in the eighteenth century, but only indirectly² In 1796 a chair of Hebrew at the College...

  9. CHAPTER 4 History and Higher Education
    (pp. 175-223)

    Higher education provided a less significant job market for professional historians than did secondary education In 1910 there were 620 persons teaching history in schools but only 120 histonans in higher education¹ Not only was the number of posts in secondary schools five times as great but the call for secondary-school teachers was also the moving force behind the expansion of history education in the arts faculties from the final quarter of the nineteenth century on

    Histonans in the arts faculties increasingly performed two functions, namely, the training of history teachers and the encouragement and evaluation of research Both functions...

  10. CHAPTER 5 The Old Professors and the New
    (pp. 224-308)

    Institutional developments led to new demands on history chairs But was there an appropriate response from the average professor? Needless to say, the dictumindividuum est ineffabilealso applies to arts-faculty historians Every professor had his own idiosyncrasies, qualities, and shortcomings There were bright men and dunces, workhorses and idlers, fusspots and bunglers, specialists and eclectics, precocious geniuses and late bloomers The life and work of professors can of course be judged on individual merit, but our aim is not to write biographies capturing the uniqueness of each one but to show, by overall comparisons of their life and work,...

  11. CHAPTER 6 Changes in Professional Writing
    (pp. 309-357)

    Few professional historians are prolific writers, generally no more so than amateur historians In chapter 1 we saw that professionalization, in the sense of the increase in the number of professional historians, did little to expand the volume of historical writing It did, however, have a considerable effect on its character So far we have dwelled on the influence of professionalization on history teaching at schools and faculties and on the classification of historical material in archives, libraries, and museums In this last chapter we shall look at changes in the character of historical publications associated with the social process...

    (pp. 358-366)

    Before reaching a conclusion, we would do well to recapitulate

    With the help of random bibliometric samples I have tried to convey some idea of the share of history books in the general French intellectual output, as well as of the quantitative shifts in historical writing itself During the nineteenth century the number of publications on French national and local history rose markedly Religious and military history accounted for a large share of the historical writing produced in about 1900, while socio-economic history enjoyed growing popularity

    In a predominantly agrarian society lacking mass media, modern working conditions, and comprehensive educational...

    (pp. 367-386)
  14. NOTES
    (pp. 387-436)
    (pp. 437-462)
    (pp. 463-470)
  17. Back Matter
    (pp. 471-471)