French history has recently witnessed an extraordinary outpouring of microhistorical studies covering a range of phenomena from the Middle Ages to the twentieth century. This course explores both the distinctive features of microhistorical approaches to the past and the attractions of microhistory for the practicing historian. Does the efflorescence of microhistory among French specialists signal the maturity of socio-cultural history as a branch of the discipline, or does it instead signal the field’s sad retreat from grand interpretation and synthesis? Does the new appeal of the small-scale express historians’ capitulation to post-modern attacks on “truth” or new commitments to finding the truth? What are the strengths and limitations inherent to the genre? Students will read a sampling of recent work (much of it featuring murder and mayhem) and also try their hand at writing and otherwise formulating their own microhistorical narratives.