Historians who eat what they are given*

In his preface to The Indian Slave Trade, Gallay refers to historians as detectives, social scientists, and philosophers. It makes sense…but. Do other disciplines define themselves so metaphorically? I realize I’m paying more attention to historians, archivists, whatevs, but it seems like they’re much more likely to be defined in that sort of way, and I’m not entirely sure what to make of it. Hints of professional insecurity? (No, no, we really do this thing that’s totally sexy and important.) Assumptions—correct or not—that the audience just won’t get it, except by analogy? (It’s Ghost meets The Manchurian Candidate.) Or treating interdisciplinary skill sets as a feature, rather than a bug?

* It’s an Embassytown reference.