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Global Microhistory: AHRC Network


The AHRC Global Microhistory Network will hold three conferences over the course of 2018-2019
There will also be three evening Salon Sessions at the V&A during this period.

Conference Cycle:

Conference 1: A Different Point of View: Scales, Spaces and Contexts in Histories of the Local and the Global University of Warwick, 17-19 May, 2018. For the programme, see here.

Conference 2: Global Empire, Global Courts: Explorations in Politics and Religion – European University Institute, Florence, 13-14 September, 2018 For the programme, see here

Conference 3: Information, Correspondence and Recording-Keeping in Micro and Global Perspectives – University of Oxford, 19-20 September, 2019

3 Salon sessions at the V&A – Dates to be determined.

About the network

The Network addresses the question: ‘Can there be a global micro history?’ Two areas and approaches to historical writing which captured imaginations during the later twentieth and early twenty-first centuries were microhistory and global history. Microhistory became a leading historical methodology coinciding with poststructuralism and the rise of cultural history from the later 1970s. Its wide public reception was based in the film ‘The Return of Martin Guerre’ and Natalie Zemon Davis’s historical contribution to this. Global history has risen rapidly since 2000 to make comparative and connective history across Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas central to the subjects and methods of historians and museums. Both these micro and macro approaches have generated wide interest among historians and the general public, and global history has become the focus of new research centres as well as journals and MA programmes.

This Network is timely because a number of microhistorians now seek to engage in the histories of places, events and individuals in a way that also captures the history of global connections as brought to life by a new generation of global historians. Equally there are many scholars who see themselves as global historians whose work is rooted in archivally-based research into the histories of individuals and events with global frameworks and significance. They are frustrated with the ‘big data’ and broad syntheses which are increasingly ascendant. This network will bring these groups together to discuss the question, ‘Can there be a global micro history?’ What are the questions, methodologies and writing challenges that will bring these traditions of historical writing together? Can the written and printed evidence gathered in archives and texts be connected with the evidence of material culture that we find in museum collections and archaeological remains so as to give life to a new initiative in globalmicro history? This network led by Maxine Berg (Global History and Culture Centre, University of Warwick), John-Paul Ghobrial (History Faculty, Oxford) and Jorge Flores (Dept. of History and Civilization, European University Institute) will collaborate with the Research Dept. and the Early Modern European History Gallery of the Victoria and Albert Museum to investigate and debate these issues.

A second Special Issue is in preparation from the AHRC-funded Network on Global Microhistory. This will be prepared for the Journal of Early Modern History for publication in 2023. The issue will focus on space, locality, travel and transport and networks. Contributors include Maxine Berg, Susanna Burghartz, Jan de Vries, Rémi Dewière, Anne Gerritsen, Giuseppe Marcocci, and Francesca Trivellato.

For the first Special Issue on Global Microhistory see Past and Present Special Issue Supplement 14, 2019: Global History and Microhistory