New Paths for Exploring ‘History from Below’: Microhistorical Documentaries


  • Efrén Cuevas Universidad de Navarra


Słowa kluczowe:

microhistory, documentary, history and film, autobiography, home movies


This article proposes a specific category of documentaries that adopt a unique approach to explore the past, and which are referred to here as “microhistorical documentaries.” These films fall within the basic parameters of written microhistory, a historiographical trend that emerged in the 1970s under the broader umbrella of “history from below.” Those parameters include a reduced scale of observation, a central role given to human agency, a conjectural approach to archival research, and a reliance on narrative structures. But microhistorical documentaries also exhibit specific traits of their own, such as underscoring the affective dimension, using autobiographical and essayistic perspectives, drawing on the protagonists’ personal memories to reconstruct the past, and using family archives (mainly snapshots and home movies). Films of this kind therefore differ markedly from the informational/expository model of the conventional historical documentary, sharing features with a certain type of contemporary documentary, with some traits that can be linked to a postmodern sensibility.


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Jak cytować

Cuevas, E. (2023). New Paths for Exploring ‘History from Below’: Microhistorical Documentaries. Panoptikum, (29), 52–65.