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What do historians do?
What do historians do?

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1 Historians work in a tradition

A black and white photograph of a landscape. There are three low hills in the photograph and several fields which are divided by hedgerows.
Figure 2 A photograph of Luxulyan, Cornwall, taken in August 1928.

Academic history is made up of knowledge and methods that have evolved over generations. Historians often say they ‘stand on the shoulders of others’ as they try to develop the work of previous scholars. Working within a tradition of knowledge can mean challenging or changing that knowledge or finding new ways (methods) towards understanding the past. Sometimes new fields or areas of academic historical research emerge but, as you will see here, they still build on broader established traditions of knowledge construction. You are now going to explore how this works with landscape history. You will see how historians use cultural products, their own experience of being in a landscape and scholarly work to understand our changing environments.