Massacres of cats, heretical millers, village fraudsters and globe-trotting prophets: these have all been the subjects of ‘microhistory’ at one time or another. Yet despite the increasing use of the term in recent publications, it is not clear that historians are always writing about the same thing when they write about ‘microhistory’. What might the study of small, seemingly insignificant details, people and places reveal about larger historical trends, events and debates? This option will provide students with research training through the intensive reading and discussion of a number of outstanding examples of the 'micro-historical' study of individuals, families, communities, incidents, processes, rituals and more. The paper is not about microhistory per se, but rather about what microhistories have revealed about the early modern world. The readings will begin with a collection of theoretical and methodological reflections on microhistory in week 1 before proceeding to explore, in weeks 2-6, aspects of early modern history through examples of the genre from the 1970s until today. These examples will come mainly from the literature on early modern Europe, which has had an influential role in the tradition of microhistory, but we may also consider examples from early American, and modern European history depending on student interests. Among the questions we will consider, we will pay particular attention to the issue of sources and their potential in the hands of imaginative historians as well as how microhistories relate to alternative analytical and narrative techniques. We will explore what can be revealed about the early modern world by microhistory that is not available through other methods when it comes to the study of, for example, religion and reformation, the state and authority, political culture and bureaucracy, the history of family, rural life, and conversion. For the Option Essay, each member of the class will write a microhistorical study of a subject of his/her choosing (agreed in discussion with the instructor). This might be, for example, a microhistorical reading of an individual source, or a methodological essay exploring what microhistory offers for the understanding of otherwise relatively inaccessible aspects of the past. In doing so, students will gain direct experience of research, analysis and interpretation linked to their own interests.