History is the systematic study of history. chronological events occurring in the past are often regarded as prehistorical. “historic” is a broader umbrella term that encompasses prehistorical events as well as all the documentation, interpretation, discovery, analysis, and arrangement of data about those events. The discipline of history can be subdivided into humanities and social history, including such broad areas as anthropology, art, history, philosophy, political science, and sociology.
Historical research relies on several types of primary sources. Primary sources include primary texts, primary sources such as diaries and other written documents, primary resources like libraries, archives, government archives, cemeteries, etc., secondary sources like newspapers and magazines, as well as oral history interviews. The historian must put together primary and secondary sources to support his/her arguments. Primary sources, in turn, often provide the historian with a story of how and what happened at a particular point in history. Secondary sources provide evidence of previous events, often supporting one or more viewpoints on any given historical issue.
One type of historians is known as anthropologists. Anthropologists are interested in human remains, especially ancient human remains. They organize and classify bodies in relation to time and cultural factors. This discipline sheds light on the evolution of human beings and their interactions with each other as they were in prehistoric times. anthropologists rely on fossils, artifacts, bones, shells, and skeletons for testing, diagnosis, and research.
Another type of historians is known as biological historians. These historians specialize in historical research based on biological material. For example, geneticists research genetic history and evolutionary genetics. Historic biologists analyze remains such as teeth, hair, antlers, bones, pollen, shells, etc. to learn about human history and determine biological relationships among people.
Cultural historians, also known as social scientists, are interested in how people perceive and interpret the historical record. Historians like C. Vann Woodward, George Peppard, Edward Said, and others have provided important insights into the impact of the written word on people’s thinking. Social scientists also draw upon art, music, movies, television, etc. to explain social phenomena. These historians have made major contributions to understanding how people form opinions, how groups interact, and how history has shaped societal organizations today.
A third subfield of historians is referred to as political scientists. These historians analyze public policies and how they affect the historians as well as society as a whole. Examples include debates between revisionists and social scientists concerning the First World War and the Second World War. Political scientists also study national leadership, constitutional politics, and international relations. William Easterly and Richard P. Mitchell are two notable scholars of this subfield.