This is a short guide intended to focus on Microhistory texts written by Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) authors across the world. While imperfect, this guide serves as a valiant attempt to increase awareness of work by BIPOC authors in a field where BIPOC authors are underrepresented. Aside from hoping that instructors will consider including these texts into their syllabi to provide alternative perspectives, this guide was also created with the hopes of encouraging more BIPOC authors to write microhistories for the academic and even the general audience.
If you have any further suggestions on what literature could be added to our guide, please do contact Sajni Lacey (Subject Librarian: History) at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Microhistory, for the most part, uses one person, one event, one community - something small - to understand the social history of a society, usually the common men rather than the privileged class. The exact definition of microhistory and the utility of it is still very much up for debate today. While relatively new as a field, microhistory has created value in the ‘small’ and ‘limited’ by creatively navigating gaps of sources whilst using these small narratives to equip the ordinary person with a voice that is not often audible given the obsession over ‘big man (and big structure)’s history’. By providing some historical agency to these little characters in the grander narrative, the growing field of history is not only made relatable to the layman reader, but the overall narrative of socio-cultural history across the world is also made that much more complete. For more information, you may refer to https://sites.duke.edu/microworldslab/what-is-microhistory/.
Brewer, J. “Microhistory and the Histories of Everyday Life.” Cultural and Social History, vol. 7, no. 1 (2010): 87-109. DOI: 10.2752/147800410X477359.
Ginzburg, C. The Cheese and the Worms: the Cosmos of a Sixteenth-Century Miller. Baltimore, Maryland: John Hopkins University Press, 1980.
Gregory, B. S. “Review: Is Small Beautiful? Microhistory and the History of Everyday Life.” History and Theory, vol. 38, no. 1 (1999): 100-110. URL:
Lloyd, C. “The Methodologies of Social History: A Critical Survey and Defense of Structurism.” History and Theory, vol. 30, no. 2 (1991): 180-219. URL: https://www.jstor.org/stable/2505539.
Stone, L. “The Revival of Narrative: Reflections on a New Old History.” Past and Present, no. 85 (1979): 3-24. URL: https://www.jstor.org/stable/650677.