Workshop: Grand Narrative, Archaeology and Positionality: Is Diachronic Microhistory a Way Forward?

Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies invites you to a workshop which will be of interest to historians, archaeologists, anthropologists and anyone interested in historical and archaeological narratives, entitled ‘Grand Narrative, Archaeology and Positionality: Is Diachronic Microhistory a Way Forward?’

This presentation will explore the intersections of grand narrative, archaeology, and positionality, critically examining whether microhistory offers a viable way forward for a fraught discourse on how to interpret and narrate longue durée archaeological sites. Traditional grand narratives in history and archaeology have often marginalized diverse voices and simplified complex histories, while the concept of positionality highlights the influence of researchers’ backgrounds on their interpretations. By adopting a diachronic microhistory approach, which emphasizes detailed, localized, and nuanced accounts of well-represented moments in the archaeological record, archaeologists can challenge and nuance dominant narratives and provide a more inclusive and multifaceted understanding of the past. This approach not only democratizes historical and archaeological narratives but also acknowledges that there is a multiplicity of perspectives, thereby fostering a more comprehensive and equitable narrative of past events and processes. Drawing on his research and background as an anthropological archaeologist working with the Madaba Plains Project at Tall Hisban in Jordan, Professor LaBianca will highlight the potential of a diachronic microhistory approach as a way forward for dealing with the challenges of interpreting longue durée archaeological data sets and sites.

The presentation, which is open to the general public, will be followed by comments from invited discussants and Q and A with the audience.

If you have any queries, please contact Priscilla Lange at