I would describe my field as the history of historical research. What that means, as opposed to, say, historiography or philosophy of history, is that I am less interested in the forms history takes or in the subject matter, as I am in the questions historians ask. Even more precisely, I am interested in how historians turn “survivals” into evidence. This is directly related to historians understanding that certain kinds of artifacts speak to certain kinds of inquiries—and not others. My thinking has been spurred by a long-running engagement with early modern European antiquarianism and its continuing impact on how historians work. I have in the past years been working on two large projects. The first is a study of Peiresc’s relations with the merchants of Marseille, which is directly related to questions of the Mediterranean and to the historiography of commerce as an intellectual practice and was published in 2015 by Harvard University Press. The second is an essay-like traversal of the history of the idea of material culture, of using objects as historical evidence, from Peiresc up to the beginning of the twentieth century. It will be published by Cornell University Press in 2017.

Miller’s Academia.edu Page


Selected Recent Publications

Peiresc’s Mediterranean World (Harvard University Press, 2015)

Cultural Histories of the Material World, ed. (University of Michigan Press, 2013)

Peiresc’s Orient: Antiquarianism as Cultural History in the Seventeenth Century (Ashgate/Variorum, 2012)

Antiquarianism and Intellectual Life in Europe and China, 1500-1800, ed., with François Louis (University of Michigan Press, 2012)

The Sea: Thalassography & Historiography, ed. (University of Michigan Press, 2012)

Peiresc’s History of Provence and the Discovery of a Medieval Mediterranean (Transactions of the American Philosophical Society 101, 2011)