What does it mean to be a historian? And what does it mean to be a y(o)ung historian in the 21st century? You know, like a next gen’ type thing?
I think about this alot. I have to. There needs to be direction in my work, no? A basic idea, a purpose etc. The sheer fascinating with reading about our past isn’t enough.
We’re in the age of information, majority of our collectively gathered history is a click away at any given time. Thus, the historians ”original” purpose, to just simply know history, is somewhat rendered obsolete. The act of documenting history in the now is also somewhat taken care of, we record e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. now, literally everything.
So far though, I’ve managed to conclude that my purpose as a historian still seems to be to know history. But not as a means of a walking timeline, but as a lens or a conduite. Bare with me lol. A conduite meaning, if a 10 year old kid touched me, they’d be zapped and know none of it’s random. They’d know of the people that came before us and just how much they matter. They’d know the events that shaped our reality now and how it’s all linked.
Will I ever achieve it? No, absolutely not. My head’s too small and my time is limited. However, It’s a pretty cool purpose, and I’ll keep busy forever.
I feel like there’s a focus on the now. Our attention span is getting shorter, travel is going faster, time itself feels like it’s moving faster. It’s easy to remain centered and only focus on your immediate surroundings, your immediate reality. I’m not gonna knock anybody who is, it makes sense.
All I hope is that the people whom we’re currently standing on, aren’t lost to history. That when we as individuals look for our identity, we remember that the people who came before us helped shape who we are. There’s no shame in looking to them for guidance and help. Our past, our culture and our elders is an asset.
So when you ask yourself who you are, or why people do what they do, my job as a historian will be to say look to those who came before.
Maybe I’m talking out of my ass but I feel like this makes sense?
Regarding the y(o)ung aspect, I guess I just gotta make sure I package (or convey) our history in a way that shows just how relevant it is for today, for people like me. Aswell as document the perspectives and conclusions that my generation will be adding to the book later on.
Further more, yungHistoria is a hilarious name for a blogpost, and I feel it embodies the concept I’m trying to push here, which is me I guess? Me as a historian? Like – I’m down for both trap music and ancient civilizations. If you tell me there’ll be hiphop, Axumite coins, Ekpe masks AND pizza? I’ll be there in an instant. Faster than Europe ruined the economy of an entire continent type fast. Feel me?