Micro meets Macro: The Challenge of Scale in Writing History with Joyce Chaplin

Date: January 20, 2017
Time: 1:00pm - 5:30pm
Location: Ahmadieh Family Lecture Hall - C105, Bay 4, Smith Warehouse

Event title: Micro meets Macro: The Challenge of Scale in Writing History


Presenter(s): Keynote: Joyce Chaplin (Harvard University).   Other presenters: Nicole Barnes (History), Juliana Barr (History), Ed Balleisen (History), Thomas Robisheaux (History), and Ashley Young (History),


Event description: 

This symposium explores the challenge of making use of different levels of scale in writing and researching history. Since the advent of microhistory, the emergence of global history, and the challenges of Big Data and Big History, historians are imagining new ways of understanding the past with ever more complex scaling of historical studies. What scale of analysis is the best for solving a particular problem of historical understanding? Do we need new approaches to writing history at the national or regional level? New approaches to time are also changing the craft of history. What difference does it make to write about long periods of time or, conversing, reducing a timeframe to focus on very short periods of time? The questions about scale involve understanding experience, social and political action, writing historical biography, and using social network analysis and quantitative methods. Today, when many historians are seeking to incorporate large scale global perspectives into their work, understanding the smaller scales on which people actually experience their lives provokes new and rigorous consideration of historical sources and evidence as well. Can one write global microhistory, for example? Join us for Joyce Chaplin’s keynote address and a Roundtable Discussion featuring Duke faculty and their work. Open to the public and scholars of all fields.



Event location: Ahmadieh Family Lecture Hall, Smith Warehouse – Bay 4, C105 (Garage)


Event schedule (date, beginning time, end time)

1:00 – Joyce Chaplin, keynote

2:30 – Break

3:00 – Roundtable Discussion

4:30 – Reception


Event contact Duke email address (organizer)

Tom Robisheaux, trobish@duke.edu