Microhistories: Sacle and Narrative in Historical Research and Writing


Historical Methods (Transregional): How much can we learn about the past through the story of a single person, place, object, or event? Since the 1970s, historians have attempted to show that 'microhistories' can powerfully illuminate the grand sweep of history. By narrowing their focus to magnify the small, the particular, and the local, 'microhistorians' have argued that studies of apparently inconsequential subjects can have a major impact on our understanding of the past. This course is based on the intensive reading and discussion of several outstanding examples of the 'micro-historical' study of individuals, families, communities, events, and social interactions. These will be primarily drawn from the literature on early modern Europe, which has a long and continuing tradition of work of this kind. Some, however, are taken from the historiography of Early America and recent approaches to 'Global' history. Particular attention will be paid to questions of evidence and of its potential in the hands of imaginative historians; and to the deployment of particular analytical and narrative techniques in the construction of history. We will often be less concerned with whether the historians we study are 'right' in their arguments than with how they develop and present them.
Course Attributes: AS HUM; EN H

Section 01

Microhistories: Sacle and Narrative in Historical Research and Writing
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