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  • Social History and Microhistory

    Posted on August 31st, 2013 Rosemary Zlokas No comments

    I originally wrote a post on the modernity readings, bemoaning how historians would never reach a consensus on what this term meant because of the overwhelming differences in geographical discourse and what the lack of consensus meant for professionals and the discipline at large.


    I then deleted it and instead turned my efforts to a section of the reading I felt much more enjoyable—that is, the impact microhistory has on social history.


    As Tosh explained, there are many different types of history.  Tosh aptly described social history as history beyond the elite (65).  Although social history poses many more difficulties in researching, I believe that it provides a crucial understanding of how society once was—providing a holistic account that history of the elites cannot even touch upon.  Studying larger, more prominent figures can provide accounts of major political milestones and, in some cases, how revolutions came to arise.  Yet, it leaves us with no way of understanding what it actually felt like to be alive at that time, an idea often overlooked in providing larger scale historical accounts.  However, without accounts or records detailing these lesser memebers of society (which they often do not), we have no way of actually putting forth valid social histories.  Are we instead forced to generalize social histories?


    Enter microhistory.  In working on social history research, I have implemented the use of microhistory countless times without properly recognizing how crucial it is in filling out in small-scale and human detail some of the social and cultural features that are otherwise only known as generalizations (82).  Microhistory has a point—how can we consider broad generalizations valid social histories?  Well, we cannot.  Social historians instead need to build upon ways of implementing microhistories, by getting to better know the people who actually lived at this time through “hidden” records, local histories, and, when possible, personal accounts.  In many cases, this type of research is much harder to complete, and in some cases, practically impossible.  In this course, I have a major goal to learn how to better conceptualize and research microhistory and how crucial this can be to writing and understanding social history.

  • Hello world!

    Posted on August 29th, 2013 Rosemary Zlokas No comments

    Welcome to Blogs@VT Sites. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!