How Historians Find Their Research Topics

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Episode Summary

How did average, poor, and enslaved men and women live their day-to-day lives in the early United States?

Today, we explore the answers to that question with Simon P. Newman, a Professor of History at the University of Glasgow and our guide for an investigation into how historians choose their research topics.

What You’ll Discover

  • Life for the urban poor in early national America
  • Size and population of early American cities
  • How disease affected poor people in early American cities
  • How historians find research topics
  • How Simon found his first book project: Festive culture in the early American republic
  • Overview of how plantation slavery developed in the British Atlantic World
  • How Simon found his plantation labor and slavery project
  • The role historic sources play in how historians find their research topics
  • Daily life for poor people in Philadelphia during the late 18th century
  • How Simon researched the bodies of poor people
  • How historians research difficult topics like death and slavery
  • What Simon does with all of the research ideas he doesn’t have time to pursue
  • How Simon knows he has found a topic he wants to research
  • The collaborative nature of historical research

Links to People, Places, and Publications