Microstoria/Microhistoire/Microhistory

in French Politics, Culture & Society
Author:
Francesca Trivellato Yale University francesca.trivellato@yale.edu

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This article was first delivered as a talk at a symposium in honor of Jacques Revel. It focuses on Revel's manifold contributions as a scholar, teacher, and university administrator in order to reflect on the different meanings that the label “microhistory” has acquired over the past forty years. More specifically, it examines the evolution of the microhistorical approach in relation to the Italian, French, and American historiographical traditions in which it was most influential as well as to the rise of global history. The article is also an exercise in microhistory insofar as it emphasizes the tension between agency and structure in describing the ways in which the micro-historical trend has changed over time. It highlights the formidable ways in which personal ties shape knowledge and institutional building, but also acknowledges the larger forces that shaped the selective and creative appropriation of Italian microhistory in different national and temporal contexts.

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