Doing Early Modern Microhistory

Course Material 2023/24

The best microhistories seem to come from early modern historians. Indeed, if we magnify the individual, the particular and the local in the period c.1400-1700, we learn a lot about the past. This Research Project will be taught in two sections:

  1. In Michaelmas Term the students will attend four classes, focused around conceptual and methodological challenges. We will discuss changing scales, issues of methodology, and recent historiographical developments in the field of microhistory. An awareness of the available sources and the ways in which historians have approached this exciting field of research will be the starting point for students to think about their Long Essay 
  2. In Lent Term the students will attend four seminars on specific categories of early modern people who have been subjects of microhistorical studies (from miller Menocchio to kidnapper Cunegonde) and will be asked to present on their chosen ‘individual/s’. In discussing early modern characters, we will also reflect on crafting microhistorical narratives and using different, often unexpected, bodies of primary sources.

In Easter Term, supervisions will focus on any issues encountered in the writing of the Long Essay and give advice on the draft.