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What is "hot" in history today?


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I disagree with you on this one, although I think you've got some valuable stuff in your other points. Digital history actually facilitates interdisciplinary work in a lot of ways. One of my first independent research projects was a digital reconstruction of a ruined Irish cathedral as it might have looked 800 years ago, and then using that model to track how it changed, and what those architectural changes reflected about shifting perceptions of ethnicity. So there you've got history, art history, graphic design, anthropology, and maybe a few more social sciences to boot.

 

I have to admit, I'm not a big fan of the digital revolution. I'm mostly a paper person, myself. But the tools these developments give us are actually extremely valuable in breaking in some new ground, not just teaching the old, worn-out stuff.

 

agreed. digital methods allow scholars to ask new questions and look at evidence in different lights. richard white's book "railroaded" is a good example of this

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Digital history and Digital humanities are huge. In fact, I got sick of hearing about it as an archivist, but it is super sexy and people go nuts over it. 

Though interdisciplinary might be out of the basement and in the streets it isn't quite into the parlors yet.  People say they are interested in it in theory but often get confused and hostile when pr

This is a useful thread.   My sense is that most prospective and new graduate students have a good sense of what's hot now. That said, what really sets some apart from others is a sense of what will

Do you mean, rather, that everyone is rushing to try and catch up with Michael McCormick? (tongue in cheek, of course! :-) ) His work is amazing and the new GIS stuff that he's spearheading is extraordinary!

Only a little tongue in cheek! It really is a mind-blowing paradigm shift, or at least it was for me.

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Social history...I don't know if it's fading, but in my experience that's what is taking the history world by storm (or at least my department).

 

Digital yes, although I do see the valid points about how it is a tool and not necessarily a study in and of itself. I'm sure my archives professors will try and beat that out of me in my program.

 

Public history - yes! Granted, public history is almost a pseudo-history (and I say this as someone who studies it) - it's a lot about application and how we can use our historical knowledge and research to back up the application.

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I feel like I have the opposite problem. I know Gender/Religion seems to be hot, which is good for me, but domesticity seems to be really fading.  It seems to have hit a boom in the early to mid 1990s and I seem to be a Janie Come Lately in terms of what I hope to study topically. 

 

Social history...I don't know if it's fading, but in my experience that's what is taking the history world by storm (or at least my department).

 

I hope it's more than your department, Annieca. Social History is something I love. 

 

As an aside, I agree, modern political history seems to be growing, at least among my friends... 

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New materialisms, material exchange, environmental history and object histories. 

 

http://www.culturalhistoriesofthematerialworld.com/ is really fantastic and cutting-edge; I wouldn't be surprised if this sort of work became "hot" in the coming years, although in some ways it already is. 
 

History of Science is also a huge deal right now—bigger than it has ever been in my opinion—and I would not be surprised if it became more of a "normal science" in History at large. Almost all of the recent hires at my institution (Medieval - 20th century, China - Latin America, Cultural, Political, Economic, etc) have backgrounds in History of Science, and are also doing pathbreaking work in the aforementioned fields. I think that's going to be more and more common in the future. 

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World history (or, to some, "global history") is growing massively at the moment, as well as digital history.  One problem with many world history scholars is that they do not have much training in it, so they often don't recognize that it is a field in itself rather than a methodology and therefore miss a ton of historiographical debates.  There are only a few programs in the US that currently do this, but they are growing increasingly quickly.  David Armitage has endorsed it, Sebastian Conrad has a great book as an introduction to the subject, the California School brought some attention to the field in the 00s, and imperial history has also been a focal point of world history.  

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  • The social and cultural history of markets and economic systems. History of capitalism seminars have been sprouting up all over the place since the Great Recession, and the trend doesn't seem to be slowing down anytime soon. Historians of empire and historians of capitalism seem to be talking to each other -- wouldn't J. A. Hobson be proud!
  • Related to above: a renewal of intellectual history focusing on social network formation and the interaction of various institutional cultures (depending on the time period, "institutions" could refer to think tanks, learned societies, national and local governments, charitable organizations, etc.).
  • Bump for the post on world or global history. Work on the global circulation of commodities has been a recent way in to the subject (cotton, for example). 
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