from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- noun The study of the past on a small scale, such as an individual neighborhood or town, as a
case studyfor general trends
Stern contended that "details are everything in this kind of microhistory, in which an inaccurate word or phrase can distort our perception of the historical record."
The book I wrote just prior to this one constituted, perhaps, a step toward biography: By telling a story of events that happened in a small town in just a few days, what historians call a "microhistory," I used a tiny fragment of history to illuminate large themes and problems.
In his magnificent and humane microhistory, Christopher Browning has drawn on the "written, transcribed, and/or taped accounts of 292" Jewish survivors, most of them from Wierzbnik, who shared a similar experience of the war.
A telling example of microhistory writ large, The Hanging of Thomas Jeremiah narrates the story of the trial and execution of Thomas Jeremiah, one of the few free well-to-do black men in colonial South Carolina (and himself the owner of slaves), who was accused of treacherously aiding the British by fomenting a slave revolt.
Beyond microhistory, Turkel declines to name this kind of focused story, but I’d like to call it nanohistory, which both indicates the difference of magnitude from microhistory but also includes a trendy prefix.
The word 'microhistory' comes from 'micro-' and 'history'.