What I Do: Historians Talk About Their Work

This month, Stephen Aron, professor of history at UCLA, speaks with What I Do about his role as chair of the Institute for the Study of the American West, specifically how his work bridges the gap between research at universities and museums. “I want history to matter more; in the sense that [history should have] a deeper impact on the ways in which people think and engage the world. But I [also] want history to matter to more people and I think we have to look to ways to make that happen.” His position as chair provides unique opportunities to bridge the divide between academic and public history by working to make scholarship more accessible to a broader audience.

What I Do features short video interviews with history PhDs across the spectrum of professions. Each month, different historians sit down to discuss what they do, how they got their job, what makes their job interesting and challenging, and what they love about their work.

The What I Do project complements the AHA’s existing program funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and conducted in partnership with the Modern Language Association for broadening the career horizons of humanities PhDs, as well as the Malleable PhD and Tuning Project.

For more from Stephen Aron and the What I Do series, please visit the What I Do space on our website.. For more information on the Autry National Center and the Institute for the Study of the American West, please visit their website.

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  1. Amy

    I think this project is important. But I’d also like to see interviews with people in various stages of their careers. I think it would be nice to see some people with master’s degree and even bachelor’s degrees in history talk about how their work is related (even indirectly) to their history background. I also think it would be great to see interviews with graduate students. Since this is my situation, I think it would be wonderful to better represent those who identify as historians and are purusing non-traditional doctoral programs.