To What Extent Is There Conflict Between Academic and Popular History Essay


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Throughout time, there will continue to be a considerable divorce between academic and popular historians. As Margaret Conrad argues, popular historians have established the tension, by recreating “historical films without the involvement of trained historians”. This underscores the troubling gulf that sometimes separates public academics approaches to the past. Academic historians have been “too long focused” on professionalism, and discarded “generating” a “dialogue” (Conrad) with their contextual audiences. The substantial dissolution between academic and popular historians is evident in a range of sources, essentially from Michelle Arrows to Herodotus and Thucydides to Bury.


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To which they able to effectively, as Conrad believes, communicate with their viewers. This ability to do so, allows popular historians to fulfil their duty of, as traditionalist Elton states, “having his history read”. For example, the National Museum of Australia, takes a post modern approach to portraying history. The museum believes in a pastiche and populist pathway, in which the history of all people is displayed. Its interactive viewpoint allows this museum to convey history in a way that would be more accessible to its audience.


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This retrospective view may further emphasise the tension separating academic and popular historians. Although the divorce exists between popular history and academic historians, it is only through overlooking the flaws of both sides that they can ultimately achieve the main purpose of history: “having his history read”. An historian, regardless of their pathway, must continue to conform to their societies expectations if they desire for history to be continued to be taught to future generations. It must be through moulding academic and popular history together that both sides can “focus” on “professionalism” and “generate a dialogue with the public” (Conrad). This must be done so that history may be continued to be taught to later generations to come.


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