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tsuomela : tone   4

U.S. Intellectual History: How -- And For Whom -- We Write
"But while I certainly want academic history to continue valuing clear, non-technical prose, I also think we should try to have a more realistic sense of who we reach and how we reach them. The myth of accessible academic history has its costs as well as its benefits.

To begin with, the myth of accessibility can devalue some of what academic historians do uniquely well. We produce knowledge about the past regardless of whether there is a mass market for the knowledge we produce. And since I don't believe that the mass market does a good job of determining what's worth knowing, I think we ought to moderate our polemics against specialization. Many good ideas--even ideas that eventually have a profound impact on broad, public conversations--start in abstruse corners of academic work. Think, for example, of Kuhn and the idea of a "paradigm shift.""
history  profession  outreach  audience  public-understanding  writing  academic  specialization  access  tone 
april 2012 by tsuomela

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