Main Topic: Human Geography
Secondary Topic: Environment and Society, Places and Regions
Overview: Historians research, analyze, interpret, and write about the past by studying historical documents and sources. Historians conduct research and analysis for governments, businesses, individuals, nonprofits, historical associations, and other organizations. They use a variety of sources in their work, including government and institutional records, newspapers, photographs, interviews, films, and unpublished manuscripts, such as personal diaries, letters, and other primary source documents. They also may process, catalog, and archive these documents and artifacts. Many historians present and interpret history in order to inform or build upon public knowledge of past events. They often trace and build a historical profile of a particular person, area, idea, organization, or event. Once their research is complete, they present their findings through articles, books, reports, exhibits, websites, and educational programs.
In government, some historians conduct research to provide information on specific events or groups. Many write about the history of a particular government agency, activity, or program, such as a military operation or space missions. For example, they may research the people and events related to Operation Desert Storm. In historical associations, historians may work with archivists, curators, and museum workers to preserve artifacts and explain the historical significance of a wide variety of subjects, such as historic buildings, religious groups, and battlegrounds. Workers with a background in history also may go into one of these occupations. Many people with a degree in history also become high school teachers or postsecondary teachers.
Geography is very important for historians, and there are “historical geographers.” Historians need to understand how the locational patterns of landscapes, climate, cultures, societies, economies, and other characteristics all interact, and how the variations in these attributes by location influence the subjects of their research. Geographic information systems are also being used in some historical research.
Geographers at work: Historical geographer, cultural geographer, human geographer
Recommended College Courses: Historical geography, human geography, cultural geography, physical geography, economic geography, urban geography
Skills: Understanding of human behavior, history, prehistory, cultures, and physical landscapes, and especially how they are influenced by geography; geographic information systems; database systems; critical thinking
Occupation Group: Life, Physical, and Social Sciences
Learn more about Historian from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and U.S. Department of Labor: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/historians.htm#tab-2
Written by Christopher Anderson