Introduction to Social History: People Unseen?

Module Leader:
Emese Bálint
2018-2019 Summer
Arts and Humanities

Social history is a field of history that looks at the lived experience of the past. It explores how lives are lived, understood and made sense of over time. Social historians ‘write the history of ordinary people – […] historicize them, put them into the social structures and long-term trends that shaped their lives, and at the same time resurrect what they said and did’ (Paul E. Johnson). Following this idea, the module explores the management of everyday life in various moments of the past, stressing the significance of those who are hidden, marginalized, neglected and very often “voiceless”. Students will be guided to explore rural and urban lives, the social history of food, education, work and leisure, women’s movements, as well as the rise of consumption. We will use diverse primary sources such as photos, paintings, printed material, and manuscripts, looking for traces and evidence people left behind. Students will also be encouraged to develop their own individual interest through wider reading in and around a subject.

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