Performing Historically

This last section invites you to look beyond your own researching and learning process to how you might make all your hard work—and indeed your history major—relevant well beyond college. You’ll remember in our opening chapter we discussed the ways in which history, more than any other discipline, exists in the public domain. Everything and everyone has a history, and the ability to shape a community’s past brings with it a great deal of influence.  For this reason, historians (and history students) must learn how present their findings in a way that is appealing without abandoning scholarly standards.

The chapters that follow begin with the moment after you’ve completed a research paper and have been asked to make a presentation. From there, we consider three different types of history-based careers—as a professional historian, as an archivist administering primary sources, or within an array of occupations that fall under the umbrella of public history.  If you’ve ever thought about a career in history—or even if you’ve never seriously entertained such a possibility—take time to read through these exceptionally helpful chapters. You might also take advantage of the links provided to the American Historical Association and other entities that offer more in-depth information, as there are possiblities beyond the ones focused on here.

The skills you’ve learned to research historical topics translate widely, so use them to discover what opportunities exist. Most importantly, don’t forget that just as your ability to research will help you outside of college, the critical thinking skills you have developed as a history student are core competencies many employers are searching for.  Make sure your resume (or c.v.) highlights your ability to think, read, write, and perform historically.


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How History is Made: A Student’s Guide to Reading, Writing, and Thinking in the Discipline Copyright © 2022 by Stephanie Cole; Kimberly Breuer; Scott W. Palmer; and Brandon Blakeslee is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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