Art is usually defined as follows:
the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.Doesn't sound much like genealogy. But the problem is that there is no universal consensus as to what is and what is not art. So perhaps, it might be just as difficult to decided what is and what is not genealogy?
Now, what about science? Here is a one of the common definitions:
the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.But on the other hand, science also has a multitude of definitions and one of them is:
a systematically organized body of knowledge on a particular subject.This could work. Genealogy might be a science if the term is used as generally as possible. If we take this one step further, we get the definition of "social science."
the scientific study of human society and social relationships.Hmm. That seems to be getting closer to what I am thinking about. History is a social science, so how does genealogy relate to history? Here is the definition of history:
a branch of knowledge that records and explains past eventsSounds to me like we are on the track of something here. Genealogy falls into the category of history which is part of social science. Wait. I am assuming that history is a social science. Is it? After a bit of searching, there seems to be a lot of disagreement on that account. History, as a study, is sometimes lumped in with something called Art and Humanities. Wikipedia seems to think that history is a social science. See Wikipedia: List of social sciences. Let's take this a little further, quoting from the Wikipedia article on history:
History can also refer to the academic discipline which uses a narrative to examine and analyse a sequence of past events, and objectively determine the patterns of cause and effect that determine them.There seems to be a fair measure of obfuscation and disagreement at each step in this investigation. I find yet another term; Liberal Arts and Sciences. So what are liberal arts and sciences? I decided to check out what my local university, Arizona State University, had to say on the subject:
Just as ASU is positioning itself as a model of the New American University, the college is redefining liberal arts education for the 21st century. Along with such traditional core departments as chemistry, English, physics and psychology, the college has created a number of transdisciplinary schools that facilitate the creation of new knowledge across disciplinary boundaries. Among these are the schools of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies, Earth and Space Exploration, Human Evolution and Social Change, International Letters and Cultures, and Social and Family Dynamics.Apparently genealogy doesn't seem to be included in all that mumbo jumbo. A search on the term "genealogy" at ASU brings up a class in American Indian Genealogy which is part of something called American Indian Studies. I guess only Indians have genealogy at ASU.
Now what is the point of all this? And my usual question, what has all this got to do with genealogy? One of the recurring issues in the genealogical community is the acceptability of Genealogy as an academic discipline. Maybe we don't really want what we think we do? Maybe we don't want to be found competing with majors such as "Ethnicity, Race and First Nations Studies."