I have never been one for deep-diving into primary sources such as letters and diaries much to my previous history professors’ lament. I have tended towards secondary sources or other forms of empirical data. It was therefore interesting to read Andrade article “Toward a Global Microhistory” in which he utilises both letters and journals to construct an analysis based on the presumed internal feelings and opinions of their authors. This is definitely an approach that I personally am not used to and am wary of as it read almost like a novel rather than a research/historiographical paper. The last time I really looked at microhistory was in HI2001 and this article brought me back to when I had to read The Return of Martin Guerre by Natalie Zemon Davis for Ana Del Campo’s tutorial. We had to read the full book and discuss it in class. Davis drew on personal accounts of the presiding judges as well as “registers of Parlementary Sentences” and “Notorial Contracts” to establish a sort of context for the trial that she was writing about and to gauge the reactions that the French peasants in her story might have. I haven’t thought about this piece since I read it and reading Andrade’s article on microhistory and his use of primary documents such as diaries and journals really reminded me of it. I think this type of history is interesting and definitely useful in some cases. Is it for me? No. Am I grateful it exists? Absolutely. It is fun to read and allows you to really immerse yourself in the environment in which the author is writing.

Revisiting Microhistory