An Interview With J.H. Elliott

(Q): You have returned to Britain after quite a lengthy period working as an historian in the US. What differences have you observed between British and American attitudes to history among those involved one way or another with the subject?

I think there is a greater openness among American historians about profiting from and relating to other disciplines – anthropology is one that has been particularly influential. This receptiveness to new ideas makes for creativity but it can of course also run the risk of trendiness for its own sake and a certain lemming mentality. Perhaps it is a function of the sheer size of the United States that there is a certain restlessness in academia as in other areas – the tyranny of novelty leading sometimes to repetitive work.

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