Ordinary People: Uncovering Everyday Life in the European Past
In the historical record, much attention is given to wealthy elites (rulers and lawmakers, aristocrats, wealthy merchants), since they were the ones who left written records of their political and economic activities and their personal affairs. But what about the vast majority of people who lived in the past, most of whom were barely literate and had little opportunity to 'make history'? What can we know about them? This class focuses on the lives of ordinary people, and the sources historians use to learn about them. Special attention will be given to women, the poor, and other marginalized groups in societies ranging from England in the west to Russia in the east. Not offered 2023-24.