Bonus: Why Historians Study History


History is about people, but what do we know about the people behind history’s scenes?

Who are the people who tell us what we know about our past? And how do they come to know what they know?

Today, we begin our year-long “Doing History” series with a special bonus episode about historians and why they do the work they do.

About the Series

Doing History episodes will introduce you to historians who will tell you what they know about the past and reveal how they came to their knowledge.

Series episodes will air on the last Tuesday of each month in 2016.

This series is part of a partnership between Ben Franklin’s World and the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture.

About the Show

Ben Franklin’s World is a podcast about early American history.

It is a show for people who love history and for those who want to know more about the historical people and events that have impacted and shaped our present-day world.

Each episode features a conversation with a historian who helps us shed light on important people and events in early American history.

Episode Summary

In this episode, we speak with four accomplished historians:

Rebecca Onion, the History Writer at and a visiting scholar at Ohio University.

Alan Taylor, the Thomas Jefferson Chair of American History at the University of Virginia and two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize.

Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, the 300th Anniversary University Professor of History at Harvard University and the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of seven books.

Caroline Winterer, the Director of the Stanford University Humanities Center and co-author of the Mapping the Republic of Letters Project.

These four historians share what they think the study of history is, why they do the work they do, and how they present their work to the world.

4 Historians
Top: Rebecca Onion and Alan Taylor; Bottom: Laurel Ulrich and Caroline Winterer


What You’ll Discover

• How historians define history
• Why historians study the past
• What the past can teach us about the present
• How historians present their work to the world
• The Mapping the Republic of Letters Project
The Slate Vault blog
Slate Academy: History of American Slavery podcast
• Benjamin Franklin’s social network

Links to People, Places, and Publications

Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture
Mapping the Republic of Letters
The Slate Vault
Slate Academy: History of American Slavery podcast
Rebecca Onion
Alan Taylor
Laurel Ulrich
Caroline Winterer
The Papers of Benjamin Franklin

Questions, Comments, Suggestions

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Get in Touch! Send me an e-mail, tweet, or leave a comment.



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