The Annales School
Designed by Mrs Graham
Who has no life!!!!!!
• First
• Marc Bloch
• Lucian Febvre
• Second
• Fernand
1929• 3rd
• Emmanuel
Le Roy
Ferro ·
Jacques Le
Goff ·
Short and
Born 1886 in France
1914-1918 served in WW1
Went to Strasborg University
1924 The royal touch: sacred monarchy and scrofula in
England and France
1929, Bloch founded, with Lucien Febvre, the important
journal Annales d'histoire économique et sociale
Feudal Society
1936Became professor at Sorbonne
1939 joined the French Army
1944 captured and shot by Gestapo
1944-Unfinished meditation The Historian’s craft published
• War, Depression and
War resulted in a loss of
certainty in everything
• Benefited from the
blurring of boundaries
of academic disciplines
and sciences
• Jewish Historian living
through WW2
The Historian’s Craft
Make notes on the Source Reading
• -emphasized multi disciplinary approach, focusing
on economics, social and political structures.
• In direct contrast to “ dominant” history of great
events performed by great men
• Problem based, it set broad questions to answer
• Challenging stimulating alternative to traditional,
political and diplomatic history
• Operated on the basis that history was about the
past, not just the study of documents
• Bloch conceived of feudalism as a type of society that was not
limited solely to the nobility. He recognized that there was a
hierarchal relationship between lords and vassals, but Bloch saw as
well a similar relationship obtaining between lords and peasants.
• It is this radical notion that peasants were part of the feudal
relationship that sets Bloch apart from his peers. While the vassal
performed military service in exchange for the fief, the peasant
performed physical labour in return for protection. Both are a form
of feudal relationship. According to Bloch, other elements of society
can be seen in feudal terms; all the aspects of life were centered on
"lordship", and so we can speak usefully of a feudal church
structure, a feudal courtly (and anti-courtly) literature and a feudal
• archaeology, geography, religion, collective
mentalities( group psychology)
• “ To plead in favour of a community of the human
sciences despite the walls that separate them
from one another”
• Read the source attached from the Introduction
to Feudal Society. Discuss how innovative it is in
terms of purpose and construction.
• “..THE Annalists wanted to break away from narrative
political history, allowing more space to economic and
social history…the key differences with Marxists was
that they were much more interested in material
culture and the influence of geography on human
history and also much more likely to write regional
histories…the Annalists were far more ecclectic in their
theoretical approaches drawing from different
disciplines and schools of thought.”
• Anne Curthoys and John Docker
• Is History Fiction
Bloch's focus on the longue durée and his
emphasis upon structures underlying events led
to misguided accusations of a denial of human
agency and a marginalization of political history.
In Strange Defeat he clearly states his view that
individuals can change events and he castigates
the French government's refusal to trust its own
officers in the field of battle, thus leading to the
surrender of France to the Nazis.
• Fernand Braudel was born in Luméville-en-Ornois, in the département of
the Meuse, France, where he also lived with his paternal grandmother for
a long time. He studied at the elite Paris Institute of Political Studies
(better known as Sciences Po). His father, who was a natural
mathematician, aided him in his studies. Braudel also studied a good deal
of Latin and a little Greek. He loved history and wrote poetry. Braudel
wanted to be a doctor, but his father opposed this idea. In 1923, he went
to Algeria, then a French colony, to teach history. Returning to France in
1932, he worked as a high school teacher and met Lucien Febvre, the cofounder of the influential Annales journal, who was to have a great
influence on his work. With him, he travelled to Brazil in 1935 to "build"
the University of São Paulo, returning together with Febvre in 1937. In
1939, he joined the army but was captured in 1940 and became a prisoner
of war in a camp near Lübeck in Germany, where, working from memory,
he put together his great The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean
World in the Age of Philip II ).
• War, Depression, War
resulted in loss of certainty
of Enlightenment positivism
• Experience under Nazi
• Influence of Febvre
• Natural and familial interests
in Maths
• Extensive travel
Braudel expressed time in a metaphor of the ocean. He envisaged three layers of
historical time, each moving at a different speed and each aligned with different
historical topics.
The slowest moving, “ man in his relationship with the environment” was
geographical time. This longue duree moved in slow cycles of hundreds of years or
The medium duree was equivalent to the swelling currents with slow but
perceptible rythms and revolved in 10-50 year cycles. This middle cycle comprised
economic cycles, trade, population fluctuations and prices.
His 3rd aspect of time Braudel called histoire evenementielle, the “ ephemera of
history.” Crests of foam that the tides of history carry on their strong backs. This is
the concern of a more traditional political and diplomatic history.
This was a structuralist approach and the deepest layer was ultimately the most
influential. Thus he overturned the traditional emphasis on the importance of
events and people as the agents of history.
Braudel was labeled a geographic determinist in much the same way as Marx had
been an economic determinist. As well many disagreed that The Mediterranean
was an example of total history since he had omitted key topics like agriculture,
law and religion.
• Braudel’s immediate followers focused on the quantitative aspects of his
work Quantification of history was assisted also in the growth and access
to the computer technology.
• Throughout his life Braudel remained committed to the big picture.
Civilization and Capitalism is a synthesis of primary and secondary
material, especially quantitative data, tackling the large question of how
the modern world developed.
• Overrall the Annales historians search for underlying structures, their
attempt at total history and their use of the methods and subjects of
social sciences has led to a great expansion of the subject of history.
• The study of mentalites has been viewed as the Annales means of
addressing the objectivity-subjectivity dilemma which historians
continually confront
• In the following section of The Mediterranean ( the longue duree section)
Braudel connects the environment with what we now label mentalites; the
physical barrier of the mountain is an obstacle and therefore also a refuge.
Emmanuelle Roy Le Ladurie 1929•
Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie (born 1929) is a noted French historian whose work is
mainly focused upon Languedoc in the ancien regime, focusing on the history of
the peasantry.
Received his Doctorate from the University of Paris
His Father was an aristocrat, wealthy Landowner and Minister for Agriculture.
Ladurie rejected his social position and joined the Communist Party for a short
He occupied from 1973 to 1999 the chair of History of Modern Civilization and is
now emeritus professor of the Collège de France.
His thesis The Peasants of Languadoc was published in 1974
Influenced by Weber, Braudel and Foucault ideas
His other work includes Montaillou 1975, The Territory of the Historian 1978, The
Carnaval de Romans 1980, L’Ancien Regime 1991
• End of Cold War, Collapse of Communist
states -
• Influence of post modernist thinkers like
• Computer Age- explosion of data
available to Historians, Ladurie becomes
the standard bearer of cliometricians
• French influence of First Generation
• Scientific thinker interested in a range of
social and anthropological disciplines
• Rejected family aristocratic wealth and
political leanings
The Peasants of Languedoc 1966
• “This work of "total" regional history (p. 8),
grounded in the climate and topography of its
fixed place, narrated around a loving
reconstruction of time series data drawn from
land tax registers, grain (and other commodity)
prices, population registers and communicant
lists, and ultimately nuanced by an
anthropologist's sensitivity to the social impact of
even small changes in literacy and spiritual
affiliation, is in many respects the crowning
achievement of the Annales school for the postBraudelian generation” McCants
• In this book he draws on quantitative data
such as tax, tithe, wage, rent, and profit
figures and the insights of Freud, Weber, Levi
Strauss and Foucault
Witchcraft from a different perspective
Other more recent treatments of social history by Le Roy Ladurie have included La
sorcière de Jasmin (translated into English as Jasmin's Witch and Le siècle des
Platter, 1499-1628 (translated into English as The Beggar and the Professor: a
Sixteenth Century Family Drama).
In Jasmin's Witch, Le Roy Ladurie following the lead of Carlo Ginzburg argued that
the idea of witchcraft as seen by peasants was very different from the idea of
witchcraft held by judges and churchmen. To understand the "total social fact of
witchcraft", Le Roy Ladurie used an 1842 poem Françouneto written by Jacques
Boè and based on a traditional French peasant folk tale. Le Roy Ladurie contended
that the poem contains many authentic traces of popular beliefs about witchcraft
in the 17th century-18th century rural France. Le Roy Ladurie argued that the
"crime" of the "witch" Françouneto was the violation of the unwritten social code
of "limited wealth", namely that she increased her own wealth at the expense of
others. In The Beggar and the Professor, Le Roy Ladurie used the letters and
memoirs of the Platter family to examine the social values of the 16th century,
especially in regards to religion, medicine, crime, learning, and taxes
• Le Roy Ladurie is a leading champion of "microhistory", in
which a historian uses the study of an event, locality, family
or life to reveal the "structures" which underlines life in the
particular period under st
• Le Roy has also integrated environmental change and
written essays on the utility of computers in history. His
approach followed the characteristically Annales tradition
in integrating not only interdisciplinary sources of evidenve
but methodology as well.
• Some like Niall Ferguson ( Mr Media) have questioned the
value of "microhistory" arguing that it is wrong to assume
that the study of one village or one incident in one town or
one family reveals wider patterns of life in France, let alone
the rest of Europe.
• . His most noted work is Montaillou, village
occitan, a study of the village of Montiallou in
the south of France is the age of the Cathar
heresy. He uses the meticulous notes of a
member of the inquisition to develop a multilayered study of life in a small French village
over the course of several years.
L’Ancien Regime- A History of France
• Le Roy Ladurie argued that there
was a close connection between
the domestic and foreign policies
of the French Crown. In
particular, Le Roy Ladurie argued
that periods of authoritarianism
in domestic policy coincided with
periods of aggression in foreign
policy and that periods of
liberalism in domestic policy
coincided with periods of peace
in foreign policy.
The Idea of Mentalite`
Initially focused on physical structures including
the physical environment, climate, biology, which
set limits on human action; associated with idea
of different levels of time, from history of events
to medium-term social and economic changes to
la longue durée, environmental and biological
changes. Later historians in this tradition focus
instead on mental structures which set limits on
human thought; detailed studies of mentalities of
particular societies or even villages (for example,
Le Roy Ladurie’s classic study of a single village in
the Pyrenees, based on records from the
inquisition). Seek to establish dominant ideas,
key themes, semantic range of concepts, ‘world
In the Alleys of Mentalite
Lawrence Stone
• In the 1960’s and 70’s he led his historical
troops up into the arid mountains of long term
structural analyses,” scientific history”, and
computerised quantification. In the late 1970’s
he has led them down into the steamy jungles
of mentalite, symbolism, folklore,
Marnie Hughes WarringtonFifty Key Thinkers
• “…..has played a leading role in the extension
of the territory of history. Le Roy Ladurie has
shown many historians that much can be
gained from considering the insights of social
scientists, taking fresh approaches to well
known sources, using quantitative methods
and studying “ drops” of the sea humanity.”
• Annales historians criticised positivism, which
'concentrated on the analysis of short periods,
adopted a traditional narrative of events and
analysed history almost exclusively from the
political-military point of view'and rebelled
against empirical history which focused on
politics, great individuals, and chronological
events. The Annales historians found fault with
the formulaic structure of empiricist, and
especially Rankian, method of historiography.
• While the wide range of interests and the differing
methods of approaching history used by different
members of the third generation of Annales historians
combine to produce an effective method of
historiography, one criticism levelled at the group is
that the long-term view of history is ineffective when it
comes to studying fast-paced modern history.
• Annales tradition has been criticised both from abovethat is elite, individual and event centred history and
below-from feminist historians who observe the
relative lack of study of women.
George Iggers
• In the 21st century, cultural and anthropological
interests remain centred in the Annales School.
However the change in mood is reflected by the new
Title, Histoire, Sciences Sociales.
• “The change of name..demonstrated an awareness
that the political and social conditions had
fundamentally changed in recent years. The Subtitle
Economies. Societies. Civilisations had consciously
eliminated politics as a prime concern of history and
had downgraded the role of narrative. Now in the face
of the momentous changes in the 80’s, politics was
rediscovered and with it the role of personalities.”
Marc Bloch (1886-1944)
probing questions, interdisciplinary, innovative analysis of r’ships, combo of styles but
died in war
Lucien Febvre (1878-1956)
a desire to move beyond the political narrative , lots of interdisciplinary work, moved
higher than Block since not a Jew, interest in geography, move to focus on alternatives
impact was restricted to mainly france and Braudel
Fernand Braudel (1902-85)
less eurocentric perspective, spent time in Brazil
distaste for traditional accounts of erudits w/ battles and great leaders emphasis on
seeing the bigger picture or la longue durée
the effect of geography in an analysis of causation
main work done while in prison camp
demanded a consideration of time in different ways, three – social , individual,
most influence on longue duree : long-term changes of social and geographical time.
• Total history: an attempt to integrate all aspects of past human lifecultural, social, economic, political into his history
• Failed in terms of understanding lots of politics, the effect of the
individual, too focused on geography
• Annales emerged as quantative history, based on statistical data
• and attempt to write total history of a relatively narrow area no
means mutually exclusive
• Led to a tendency in followers to write more restricted regional
histories focusing on a town for example, often split into sections
tackling structure (long term) and conjoncture (medium/shorter
• Later historians Ladurie new pioneering methods
• Multiple strands in this school
• Stimulation but focus on structures in society

Marc Bloch -