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History Historians Don't Do

by Eric Rauchway

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I wish I could reassure Eric that economic history is alive and well within economics departments generally. I cannot, and that's a loss for our profession. I was fortunate enough to be forced to take both history of economic thought and U.S. economic history during graduate school, and face a core exam if I didn't learn them well enough, but that is no longer the case in most programs. In may cases, the courses are no longer offered at all.

Someone will have to tell me about the future of legal history in law schools and business history in business schools. As always, these anecdotes may not correspond to systematic data. But suppose they don't: suppose political history flourishes in Political Science and economic history thrives among economists, suppose your local English Department does a fine job with literary history while your local Law School does terrific legal history and the MBAs are learning the history of corporations in the business school. Is that a Good Thing for your local, plain-vanilla historians?