ANTH 201 Lecture Notes - Lecture 14: Microhistory, Dialectic, Emic And Etic

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8 Aug 2016
Department
Course
History From Below: The Archaeology of the
Everyday 10/30/2014 5:55:00 PM
-Attempt to narrate history from the perspective of the commners(from the
bottom up). Using peoples history.
-Ideas become more narrative
-Understanding past social life in the position that archaeologists have. This
is the context where they create archaeological interpretations. Shifting the
perspective as we deal with our own positionality and more reflexive and
critical, so we write history in a sociocultural context.
-How can we write about those who have been marginalized?
-How can we address silences in the archaeological record?
a. Study everyday life and individuals-Small scale activities that are
easily overlooked
b. Investigate why some are “of little note”- Adressing the silences
and why people are overlooked in the present and marginalized in
the past.
-Studying everyday life and individual practices and how they are
embodied and encultured and the degree of technological choice in
it.
-Everyday life and individuals:
a. Microhistory: Historical school comes out of Italy in 1970s. There were
similar historical movements throughout Europe and in the USA
later(historical anthropology). Writing and reading history all have a thing
in common.
Focus on small units of research(a single event and site)
Emphasis on agency of individual actors.
Within the small research units, they place the emphasis on the
agency. The idea of the commoner, people acting in structures and
worlds with structures already built but they have a certain amount
of freedom to act.
Carlo Ginzburg-Scuola. Examined orthodox religious beliefs of
people in 16th c. Read the bible and reinterpreted it which led him
to believe the world was created out of chaos. He went against
church dogma that the church was created out of nothing and he
said that God was created out of the chaos too. He thought jesus
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was born of men and mary was not a virgin. Because of the focus
on the individual, this history asked larger questions(world
view/mentality/cultural ideas of the time) and emphasis on the
individual agency.
b. History from below: Marxist historical school of thought
E.P Thompsons essay(1966)
Prespective of commoners- Seeing it from the perspective of the
people from the bottom
1980’s Germany: History of the everyday
History from the bottom/the masses/the everyday
Focus on the oppressed,disenfranchised,poor,nonconformists,sub-
altern,marginalized people.
Marxist because it is concerned with those who are oppressed in
society.
This is not about choosing a specific perspective it is a political
commitment:
o Idea of a coherent functioning unit, it conceals fierce conflicts
of interests between conquerors and conquered. It is the job
of thinking people not to be on the side of the executioners. It
is a world of victims and executioners.
o Balancing the sides- Silences are in history and we have to
reveal them.
o Historical silences in narratives and archaeological record.
-Silences in History:
Michel-Rolph Trouillot(1949-2012): Wrote about how history is
created by historians. Whenever we produce history, there is power
involved and we write always partial or selective history so it always
involves silences. Even when you try to be as transparent as
possible, there is always elements that are passed over
Never able to include all sources that are out there-Inadvertly
selective
Your position- perspective that places certain things closer to
you/some out of site/some further
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Historical narratives are selective****
i. Not all past events Generate records-nobody ever wrote about
it or no material record left behind. Not all of them may be
preserved, historical narratives/archives are framents.
-We write archives based on fragmentary traces- NOT
TOTALITIES
ii. Not all records that exist make it into archives or historical
narratives( we gloss over it because we deem it to not be
worthy of being included). Not preserved by the same degree,
or may not have been found.
-Work of Trouillot:
Historicity 1: The materiality of the socio-historical process(“the
facts of the matter”). Relates to dialectic of economic base and
super structure and materiality of historical process in Marxist. He
talks about the sociohistorical processes in terms of materiality,
which links it to the Marxist view. The material dimension is written
into the concept. Relates to history of below.
-what happened.
Historicity 2: The way we talk about the events. The level of
historical narratives- narrative of those facts. “What is said to have
happened in the past”
o They are constructed and selective narratives, not objective.
o Concentrates on how history is created by selection it is not
only created by historians, history is produced by non-
academics(laypeople) too.
o History can be a form of cultural production
-Silencing in History- Scott’s(Alternative way of saying 3 levels of silencing
of people in historical sources)
Historicity 1: The marginalization of people in past social life where
less likely to make it into the written record. They leave less traces
because they were marginalized in past social life.
-And (2) the silencing of these people in history
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