Biography is history, depends on history, and strengthens and enriches history. In turn, all history is biography. History could hardly exist without biographical insights—without the texture of human endeavor that emanates from a full appreciation of human motivation, the real or perceived constraints on human action, and exogenous influences on human behavior. Social forces are important, but they act on and through individuals. Structural and cultural variables are important, but individuals pull the levers of structure and act within or against cultural norms. The success of historical biography as a craft ultimately turns on the nature of its evidence and the interdisciplinary methodologies that it can bring to bear on its subject.
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© 2009 by The Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Journal of Interdisciplinary History, Inc.