One fact about the life of the mind is that nobody (except Hamerton) will give you any practical advice about how to pursue it. The policy toward future researchers, in our halls of learning, is to let the future researchers sink or swim. For some hints about the technique of research, see the Outline of Procedure section. But besides coping with the difficulties of doing history, there are also the difficulties of doing it in academe, where for better or worse most history careers are located. Here are some practical tips about that part of things. You are likely to be making career moves sooner than you imagine and if you are going to be making career moves anyway, it is probably better to make good ones.
Of the suggestions below, we guarantee only that they are well-meant. Results are up to you and your good sense, including your good sense about what advice to take and what advice to leave alone. Luck is also a factor, but as Pasteur tellingly said, luck is on the side of those who have given the matter some thought in advance. Here are some things you may not have thought about as requiring thought.
It is obvious that a mind good enough to handle the complexities of historical research may be good enough to do other things too. We therefore follow the career trajectory on into the administrative area. Not because everyone wants to wind up in administration, or should, but because those who do wind up there should know what they doing. And to what end.
- Prolegomena: The Thinker's Analects (Advice Before Setting Out)
- Rules 1-32. The Student's Bible (You Are Even Busier Than You Think)
- Rules 33-64. The Scholar's Checklist (Keeping Your Mind Going)
- Rules 65-96. The Junior's Dilemma (Getting Started)
- Rules 97-128. The Manager's Eye (The Higher-Level View)
- Rules 129-160. The President's File (Now Make It Better Than You Found It)
Among other sources of advice, besides Hamerton, there is the recent and chatty Chicago Guide. Beneath its inevitable PC posturing, there are some useful observations about how things work in the field.
We can start on the general overview by going to The Thinker's Analects:
28 July 2004 / Contact The Project / Exit to Methodology