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Crossing Over: academic and popular history

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This article considers the divide between popular and academic history, especially as perceived by popular and academic historians. It argues that the two forms of history, though clearly connected to one another, have different priorities and audiences. In particular, where academic historians prize originality of research, popular historians will tend to prize powerful storytelling. The article suggests that popular historians could acknowledge more handsomely that many do owe their debt to the research findings of academic historians, while in their turn academic historians have much to learn from popular historians about how to communicate the pleasures and importance of understanding the past.
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Keywords: academic; communication; history; narration; popular

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Sydney

Publication date: 2011-02-16

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  • The Australasian Journal of Popular Culture is a peer-reviewed journal devoted to the scholarly understanding of everyday cultures. It is concerned with the study of the social practices and the cultural meanings that are produced and are circulated through the processes and practices of everyday life. As a product of consumption, an intellectual object of inquiry, and as an integral component of the dynamic forces that shape societies. The journal will be receptive to articles which focus on Australasian examples, or broader comparative and theoretical questions viewed through an Australasian lens.
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