From its conventional focus on political history, chronology, and abstract social structures, historiography of the late 20th century diverted to the people of the past and their life that was not exposed to public. How did it look like to do a makeup in ancient Egypt? How did the Roman soldiers feel as they were marching against the barbarians? What did medieval people cook and what were the hidden dangers of living in a Victorian house? In this module, we shall focus on human history from the perspective of the so-called “ordinary people” since the mankind’s earliest beginnings through the mid-20th century. With this focus, you will gain new insights into what daily life was like in various historical epochs — what the world actually looked, smelled, tasted and felt like for various classes, genders, ages, times and statuses. Concentrated on everyday life, the module will stimulate you to identify and better understand the usually disregarded “minor” (i.e. micro-level) aspects and perspectives of the past, allowing you, at the same time, a well-rounded insight into today’s cutting-edge humanities and latest theory defining the field. The module will take an interdisciplinary approach by connecting archaeological remains with visual representations, literary records, and documentary sources.
By highlighting the experiential approach in reconstructing history through guided source interpretations (“how you would experience it if you lived in a given epoch”), the module will also enhance your critical perception and ability to analyze broader phenomena of cultural history.
The module will be useful for students preparing for studies in general history, classical/ancient, medieval and modern history, Islamic studies, art and archeology, literary history, historical anthropology, heritage and cultural studies, medical history and social psychology.