Universiteit Leiden

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The Persona of the Historian: Repertoires and Performances, 1800-2000

26 January 2017 - 27 January 2017
Matthias de Vrieshof
Matthias de Vrieshof 4
2311 BZ Leiden
008A, 005, 007

What does it take to be a good historian? What are the attitudes, talents, skills, or virtues that historians have to cultivate to thrive in their profession? By implication, what are the “passions” or the “vices” they are expected to resist? And how do such ideas about “the scholarly self” change over time?

This conference reexamines the history of modern (post-1800) historical scholarship through the prism of “scholarly personae.” Specifically, the conference addresses three questions:

  1. What were the most important, the most neglected, and the most contested “scholarly personae” in nineteenth- and twentieth-century historiography?
  2. How did such “personae” function (as models to be imitated, as embodiments of virtues, as educational templates, as stereotypical objectified images, as shorthand for historiographical schools or traditions)?
  3. If “personae” are like repertoires, to what extent then do they allow for a rewriting of the history of historiography, not in terms of “succession,” but in terms of “sedimentation” (a gradual enrichment of available repertoires, with layers of possibilities that grow over time)?

In addition to six parallel sessions, there will be six plenary lectures:

  • Michael Bentley (University of Oxford) – Born with the Century: A Generation of European Historians, 1795-1850
  • Herman Paul (Leiden University) – Schlosser’s Statue: Scholarly Personae in Nineteenth-Century German Historiography
  • Elise Garritzen (University of Helsinki) – Edward A. Freeman, Edith Thompson and the Gendered Persona of a Late-Victorian Historian
  • David N. Myers (University of California, Los Angeles) – Graetz-Baron-Yerushalmi: Three Typologies of Scholarly Personae in Modern Jewish Historiography
  • Monika Baár (Leiden University) – Nineteenth-Century Fathers in Times of National Communism (Hungary)
  • Q. Edward Wang (Rowan University) – Passion and Persona of a Chinese Historian: The Case of Gu Jiegang (1893-1980) and His Role in Shaping Modern Chinese Historiography

Titles and abstracts as well as practical details about time schedule and conference venue are available here. The conference is open free of charge to interested staff and students. However, please register before January 14, 2017 with Herman Paul at h.j.paul@hum.leidenuniv.nl.

This conference is organized in the context of Herman Paul’s NWO-funded research project “The Scholarly Self: Character, Habit, and Virtue in the Humanities, 1860-1930.