Can you name the great historians of the 21st century? We don’t know their names, but we can make a reasonable guess about the primary focus of their inquiries.
If humans have existed for 200,000 years, then humanity has 200,000 years of history. The great historians of the 21st century will focus on all of human history, not just the past 5,000 years, which is less than 3% of our existence.
The great historians of the 21st century will include archaeologists, paleontologists, evolutionary biologists, molecular biologists, bio-historians, anthropologists and geneticists.
The great historians of the 21st century will include people who describe the history of the human constituency by integrating new information into readable narratives.
Once upon a time, historians concentrated on local history. This changed as pockets of people became aware of the entire world. Once upon a time, oral tradition, manuscripts and monuments were our primary sources of information.
This is changing because people are beginning to accept that the information developed by specialists like geneticists and anthropologists is more accurate than the manuscripts we once depended upon to understand the history of our kind.
Consider the definitions of history and historian:
“History, from the Greek ἱστορία – historia, means inquiry; knowledge acquired by investigation. History is the discovery, collection, organization and presentation of information about past events.”
“Historians are concerned with the continuous, methodical narrative and research of past events, as well as the study of all events in time.”