Are historians probably the least recognized movers and shakers of the society?
Historians are probably the least recognized movers and shakers of the society. As historians, it is always about their works and not about them. Well, there may be quiet a few historians who are popular, but again, they became famous because other historians chose to study and write about them. Behind every historical figure, behind every icon, is a historian. So for me, this is a chance to shine the light on these people, a good way to return the favor. Going back to the discussion question, my affinity is more towards psychohistory.
For me, this is probably the most challenging one, since it goes beyond the available information for a certain topic or person (385, Breisach). It involves reading between the lines, of how an event in a person’s life, say in his childhood, may influence his service as the president of a nation. It goes beyond gathering data and piecing them together in something that could be easily understood by others. It is not limited to a single person or event, as it could also be applied to a group of people at a certain time.
Psychohistory deals with much more interesting works aside from the endless researches and investigations usually conducted by historians. Response 1: From your response, I can see that your deep interest with literature and art somehow influenced your affinity to Romantic historiography. I agree with what you said about how Romantic historians wanted to hold the reader’s attention, and it is because the topics included in this aspect are anything but the ordinary, thus keeping the focus and the attention of those studying Romantic history. This is very broad, and I doubt that you’ll run out of anything interesting.
Response 2: I admire the set of criteria for a historian that you have laid down, but I think it’s rather hard to follow. First and foremost, just choosing on a subject would still be subject to bias. Why would do a historian choose to write about the Greeks and not about the Romans? There is a big difference between a historian and a news reporter. The biases that a historian possess is what makes history interesting. Despite all the facts about a topic, there is still a hint of uncertainty in it. For me, the need to clarify and verify facts about our history is what defines historians. Response 3:
I agree with you that psychohistory is indeed very interesting. In fact, it is also my choice in this discussion. From your response, you focused on collective psyche, which for me is a defining aspect of psychohistory. It is usually the leaders who are subjected to this, since they are prominent and their actions affect a larger scale. However, I think that this could also be done to anyone else worth studying, since it involves informed interpretation. All you need to have is a basis for that interpretation, and that entails gathering data about the subject, something which is common to all historians.