Microhistory in times of pandemic

Image: Cyrus Saurius


Conferences are available, with unprecedented content, that address micro-history

It is surprising how effectively some nonsense circulates through social/digital/virtual networks without arousing the slightest suspicion. Were it not for ignorance and/or malice, perhaps they would find more effective obstacles ahead. Saying that university professors enjoy extended and paid vacations during the pandemic, for example, is a cliché with an evident political purpose that the reader has possibly read/heard somewhere/moment. Nothing could be further from the truth, as they continue to teach, perform administrative activities, conduct extension projects, write articles and books, organize lectures and round tables, guide undergraduate and graduate students, compose committees and collegiate bodies, correct tests and papers , filling in diaries, preparing disciplines, participating in meetings, managing synchronous and asynchronous activities. The current extraordinary situation demanded activities of a different nature, for many, almost extraterrestrial: mastering virtual resources and digital platforms, handling new didactic and methodological resources, leading other forms of interaction and communication, adapting to the (con)fusion between the public service and private life.

It remains to add that, after COVID-19, a series of measures were taken at the university, such as the suspension of face-to-face classes and then the promotion of remote teaching. In order to respect security protocols, professors and students sought technology as a way to enable teaching, even in the face of a widespread lack of ability to handle virtual resources. Suddenly, our image was converted into megapixels and the voices began to reverberate muffled, broken and/or metallic, in headphones and speakers. Didactic effectiveness came to depend on internet speed, the quality of the Wi-Fi signal and the technology that teachers and students have at their disposal. Definitely, spectral projection does not replace physical presence, as it does not eliminate absence and prevents certain affections and sensibilities that are little or not at all consistent with the digital apparatus. Even so, if it weren't for the mechanisms we have, we would not be able to continue to promote culture, (dis)encounters and the production of material capable of providing research and learning.

I would like to mention and publicize one project in particular: in the last four months, on a weekly basis, the coordinator of the Laboratory of History of Work, Education and Violence (LAHTEV) at the Federal University of Uberlândia (UFU), prof. doctor Deivy Ferreira Carneiro, interviewed historians/researchers who teach at Italian, French, North American and Brazilian universities and who, throughout their careers, adhered to and/or resorted to the methods and approaches of micro-history. The interviews inquire about the training, institutional place and research of teachers Carlo Ginzburg, Maurizio Gribaudi, Simona Cerutti, Giovanni Levi, Angelo Torre, Marcos Bretas, Adriano Prosperi, Luís Augusto Farinatti, Jonas Vargas, Maíra Vendrame, Cláudia Viscardi, Osvaldo Raggio, João Fragoso, Sabina Loriga and Francesca Trivellato. Transmitted in Italian, French, Spanish, English and Portuguese, the conferences, with varied duration and unprecedented content, recompose and intertwine trajectories, delegate memories and present a contribution to those who are interested in the originally Italian approach of micro-history, a very controversial or little explored in Brazilian universities. Were it not for pixel projection, digital platforms and dissemination mechanisms, we would not have the satisfaction of finding all these researchers in the same loci, talking about common themes. Despite the physical absence, by suppressing distances and reflecting cultural spectra, such an undertaking demands applause and questioning, after all, the document (in this case, oral/digital) becomes a source only when it finds someone who can question it.

*Cleber Vinicius do Amaral Felipe He is a professor at the Institute of History at UFU.



The interviews are available found at: www.youtube.com/c/lahtevufu.


See this link for all articles