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Posted: 12/14/2009 5:40:37 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/14/2009 5:44:13 PM EDT by GI-45]
In your opinion, what is required for someone to claim the title of "historian"? Is it just knowing a lot about a certain topic? Or do you need to have some sort of degree or professional work to show for it?
Personally, for someone to legitimately claim that he is a "historian," I think he needs to have either:
- earned an advanced college degree in History (Master's or Ph.D)
- written & published a substantial historical work, an actual book or multiple magazine articles  (websites and blogs don't count).
If someone has not met either of these requirements, they are just a "buff," a very knowledgeable amateur, but still an amateur nonetheless. (I would place myself in this camp, having not earned my MA yet.)
What do you think?
DISCLAIMER: This is not meant to be a subtle attack or attempt to discredit anyone who frequents this forum. I'm a history graduate student and have simply been giving this question a lot of thought.

Link Posted: 12/15/2009 1:23:47 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/15/2009 1:26:15 AM EDT by ViniVidivici]
Different meanings, I feel.

A historian is someone who writes history, in a professional capacity, as appointed by an organization.

A historian is also one who studies and researches history, professionally.

ETA:  And yes, to me, this term denotes some formal education on the subject, and/or a comprehensive body of published work on the subject.

This differs from the "buff" or "armchair historian", who, while they may truly be very knowledgeable (known a few in my time, learned from them), are only doing these studies as a "side interest" in life.
Link Posted: 12/15/2009 1:57:06 PM EDT
I would say someone who actively researches historical events then passes along to other people, i.e. writing a book, teaching, working for an organization of sorts
Link Posted: 12/18/2009 4:47:29 PM EDT
Either the PHD, which requires a book length piece of research, or a published book specific to history from primary sources.
Link Posted: 12/19/2009 8:17:51 PM EDT
I've been called a historian by some people, but I'm only a civil servant.  

I think university professors deserve the title.  I also think park ranger-historians also deserve it.  Certain well read re-enactors deserve the title living-historian (as opposed to dead historians?) and some folks who write a book or a bunch o' books that are valid pieces of research also deserve it.
Link Posted: 12/19/2009 8:21:29 PM EDT
My friend Magda is the historian for Under Armor.
Link Posted: 12/20/2009 5:15:32 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/20/2009 5:16:54 AM EDT by skunk-ape]
have a book published and accepted by your peers

I think of Steven Ambrose, even late in his life he was still being maligned by detractors of his work but I can't think of a better example of a historian
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