History is the study and interpretation of the past. Historians collect, validate, analyze, and interpret information regarding the past and develop explanations for past events that often include statements regarding the causes and effects of historical events. They may focus their analyses on specific periods, cultures, peoples, places, and events.
History encompasses numerous subdisciplines, including political, diplomatic, military, economic, and religious history (Thompson Rivers University, n.d.). Many of these history subdisciplines are further divided into additional specialized areas of study.
Historians often work in government agencies or professional, technical, and scientific services (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018). They may also work in museums, archives, historical societies, and research organizations. Historians study a variety of topics depending on the type of organization in which they work. For example, government historians may write about the history of a particular government agency, activity, or program, such as a military operation or government assistance program (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018).
In Disaster Research
There is a long tradition of disaster documentation in the historical record for events such as the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake, the 1883 eruption of Krakatoa, and the 1931 Yangtze-Huai River floods in China. Historical disaster research has recently emerged; these historians compare the ways that people responded and adapted to disasters in the past (Schneck, 2017). Historical disaster researchers may examine issues surrounding cultural patterns of perception, interpretation, and handling of disasters, as well as the societal changes, associated parameters, and adaptation and coping strategies that result from disasters (Schenk, 2017).
Schenk, G. J. (2017). Historical Disaster Experiences: Towards a Comparative and Transcultural History of Disasters across Asia and Europe. Cham, Switzerland: Springer.
Thompson Rivers University. (n.d.). Varieties of History. Retrieved August 21, 2018, from https://www.tru.ca/arts/php/history/A_Handbook_for_TRU_History_Students/Varieties_of_History.html
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2018). What Historians Do. Retrieved August 21, 2018, from https://www.bls.gov/OOH/life-physical-and-social-science/historians.htm#tab-2
CONVERGE is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), Division of Civil, Mechanical, and Manufacturing Innovation, Program on Humans, Disasters, and the Built Environment (Award #1841338). Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the NSF.