Culture, from the latin "to cultivate", references both the combined experience of a population and the works created by them. Thus culture is ultimately a combination of societal mores and taboos, historical memory, attitudes, and a people's contributions to literature, stagecraft, painting, ...

learn more… | top users | synonyms

7
votes
6answers
540 views

When did formal social dance fall out of favor in the US?

Up until about the 1950s, one can see instances of social dance (especially ballroom) dominating the social scene. This includes instances such as the tennis court scene with Humphrey Bogart and ...
6
votes
3answers
4k views

What is the first known organized religion in the world?

Which were the first religions to be created with well known scriptures, ceremonies and traditions? Was it that of the ancient Egyptians or the old kingdoms of the Middle East? What about Africa or ...
0
votes
1answer
105 views

Is classical music 'bourgeois'? [closed]

Historically I am aware that classical music has always been an activity mostly reserved for the elite; therefore, it would seem that it is something completely inaccessible to the general population. ...
4
votes
2answers
205 views

When was the concept of “art criticism” first seen?

Today being an art critic is a full time occupation for some individuals. When/where does the concept of "art criticism" first come into being? Clarify I am NOT looking for a random person sharing ...
15
votes
1answer
652 views

Why do the Japanese sing Ode to Joy during the Japanese New Year?

During the New Years, the Japanese have a curious custom where they perform Beethoven's 9th symphony. This has produced some stunning sights on youtube But there's nothing particularly festive or New ...
6
votes
1answer
95 views

Which was the earliest book of names for naming babies?

Nowadays one finds books and online websites that help you to name babies. What are the earliest instances of these? I would assume that these would be in Europe, China or the Middle East, but if ...
25
votes
6answers
3k views

When and why did having long hair become associated with women, and short hair with men?

It's obvious that having short or long hair is an identity sign for men and women respectively, more or less worldwide. I wonder why something like this happened, though. Maybe it was a way to ...
4
votes
2answers
294 views

Where was the cultural inheritance of the Greco/Roman world/antiquity preserved?

In school and later in media (this is northern Europe) I was/am always told that it was the arabs/muslim world that preserved the science, technology, literature, art, culture etc from the Greek and ...
1
vote
2answers
123 views

What's the origin of Crespi plates? [closed]

I've found this article about The Mysterious Crespi Collection & The Metal Library And there is a picture of The enigmatic Crespi plate: And it's said: The age and origin of these items is ...
2
votes
0answers
84 views

When did lecherousness, in Western Culture, become a primarily male quality, instead of a female one? Or is that not true? [closed]

When did lecherousness, in Western Culture, become a primarily male quality, instead of a female one? According to TvTropes: I'm a Man, I Can't Help It: Very much Newer Than They Think. In ...
6
votes
2answers
304 views

Can the University of Bologna be considered the first university in the world?

There are usually two different opinions: the first group considers the University of Bolgona to be officially the first one, some others instead claim that there might have been other groups of ...
16
votes
2answers
1k views

Were Shakespeare's plays written for “high culture” or “entertain the bawdy masses” during his time?

Currently, the plays of William Shakespeare are viewed as great English literature, and viewed as "high culture". However I heard someone say that Shakespeare was writing "bawdy, violence filled plays ...
2
votes
5answers
354 views

Was there a single ancient religion that all others sprang from?

Many religions share same stories, Christianity, Judaism and Islam for example (the ones I know of at least). Some of those stories could even be traced to earlier civilizations in the Middle East ...
9
votes
1answer
306 views

How voluntary was Sati during the Mughal era?

So the ritual of sati (where a women must throw herself onto the funeral pyre of her dead husband) was widely practiced throughout South Asia in the Ancient era and Middle Ages. In the Mughal era, ...
2
votes
5answers
445 views

When and why did marriage become about love? [closed]

In ancient times, marriage was an institution among the wealthy, arranged entirely by parents as part of their political and economic strategy. Many cultures saw love as an impediment to marriage, ...
22
votes
1answer
3k views

When did challenging to a duel cease to be a practice in English culture?

In the Aubrey Maturin series of novels, there are at least two scenes where the protagonists are challenged to a duel: Post-Captain - Aubrey and Maturin about Aubrey's reputation with the Admiralty ...
21
votes
2answers
742 views

When did the term “Nationality” first come into use? How did ancient civilizations refer to themselves? By ethnicity?

When was the term "Nationality" first came into use? How did ancient civilizations refer to themselves? When we refer to Ancient Civilizations, did they consider themselves a nation in the modern ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

Why did Japanese samurai disembowel themselves?

Japanese samurais were known to commit ritual suicide by stabbing themselves in the belly. Why? Why not hang themselves? Cut their own throats? Does Japanese culture view disembowelment differently ...
0
votes
1answer
188 views

Why was Europe so technologically and culturally advanced? [closed]

In history, why were European populations so advanced, if compared to other populations, such as native Americans? What's the reason why Europeans were so good in technology and science? Why did ...
6
votes
1answer
260 views

What did 19th century playgrounds look like?

In the beginning of the novel Cold Mountain, a character recollect his childhood at a school house (maybe in the 1840s or 1850s in rural North Carolina) and describes flinging his hat out onto the ...
7
votes
1answer
256 views

Cultural history of Saudi Arabian rulers' uniform beard style?

Why is it that all Saudi Arabian rulers and prices both of the present and past generations apparently wear the same style of chin beards? (Yes, they wear the same styles of headdresses as well.) Is ...
1
vote
2answers
128 views

How was Chinese Communism connected to the New Culture Movement?

Looking for ways that the New Culture Movement was associated with Chinese Communism or the Chinese Communist Party.
4
votes
5answers
1k views

What was the hippie movement? Why did it decline?

When we look back at 1960s-1970s, many times we come across the term 'Hippie movement' or 'Counter-Culture'. Hippies were described as people who made themselves stand out from the rest of the world. ...
3
votes
1answer
135 views

What evidence is there to suggest that 'fear of the bomb' is culturally specific? [closed]

In the Western World, we have woven a cultural motif for our feelings about nuclear weapons. Even Scientific American would go so far as to say, "We learned to fear the bomb". Now some of this is ...
10
votes
2answers
662 views

What's the historical origin of drinking champagne on New Year's Eve?

With the new year right around the corner, I got wondering: what's the historical origin of drinking champagne on New Year's Eve? How did it become such a global trend? Where did this trend originate ...
10
votes
6answers
2k views

Is every major culture in the same year?

In the Western world the current year is 2014, which is the number of years since the birth of the Christian messiah. Given that Christianity is not the dominant religion in every part of the world, I ...
3
votes
1answer
432 views

In the past were there gifts on the days leading up to Christmas instead of them all being on the one day?

Sometimes I'm tempted to give my kids gifts in a spread out way, instead of all at once, so they can appreciate each gift. In the song The 12 Days of Christmas the author describes getting gifts on ...
2
votes
2answers
163 views

Which cultures considered dual-gender sacred

Which cultures have historically considered the manifestation of two or more genders by one individual to be either a divine trait (being a deity) or to be an indication of divine favor or association ...
5
votes
1answer
805 views

What are the cultural roots of the Lamp of the Genie?

I'm wondering what the "symbolic etymology", so to speak, is for the Lamp in the story of Aladdin and its relation to the Genie. Why would a genie be bound to an object and be made a servant to its ...
3
votes
1answer
222 views

Has any culture primarily worshipped an evil deity? [closed]

I was recently re-watching the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode Masks, (because I'm not a nerd even a little bit), and an interesting thought struck me: the culture portrayed in that episode ...
6
votes
2answers
194 views

Were Uncles referred to by surname in Victorian England?

Merry Christmas, everybody! And speaking of Christmas ... In Charles Dickens' novelette, A Christmas Carol, the main character Ebeneezer Scrooge is referred to several times by others as "Uncle ...
5
votes
1answer
286 views

Which side of the Atlantic does the jack-o'-lantern come from?

There is an often-repeated 'fact' that although the pumpkin is an American plant, the Jack-o-Lantern tradition is an older Irish tradition (e.g., in today's Washington Post) in which turnips were ...
3
votes
1answer
261 views

What Happened to Hacker Culture After 1970?

"Hacker Culture" centers mainly around being really good at something for its own sake, especially in programming. I've read a lot about it, but what I read suggests that Hacker Culture no longer ...
37
votes
3answers
2k views

What was the typical peasant's diet like in Europe during the High Middle Ages?

I know that wheat, barley, rye, onions, lettuce-like plants and turnips were common but how common were other things like meat or cheese? I've heard the "plowman's lunch" was a concoction of the dairy ...
6
votes
2answers
212 views

Did the fairy craze overlap the UFO one?

One theory goes that cultural interest in technologic UFOs* derived from the same paranormal sensibilities as fairies and elves of previous centuries; and as such when one waxed in interest ...
46
votes
9answers
2k views

History of scientific regression [closed]

Throughout history, humans have made many subtle and many substantial scientific advancements. Humans have explored, examined, learned, applied and at times seemingly "forgotten" and/or were unable ...
7
votes
2answers
183 views

Has any generation generally agreed that the next generation was better? [closed]

The tendency of each generation to look fondly on the "good old days" and to disparage the next generation is well-known. I remember reading some poem from ancient Egypt lamenting the moral failings ...
2
votes
0answers
49 views

How did messages in art, entertainment, etc. influence perception of Canada? [closed]

How did messages in art, entertainment, and official publications shape the English Canadian view of Canada's the world at the time of the Victorian era? So far how I understand it, is that the ...
-1
votes
1answer
4k views

Can someone give me an example of stimulus diffusion? [closed]

Can someone give me an example of stimulus diffusion? I can't find anything on Google that doesn't have to do with McDonalds.
32
votes
3answers
3k views

What knowledge may have been lost at the Library of Alexandria?

Of course we'll never know for sure, but do historians have some reasonable ideas about what knowledge may have been lost at the Library of Serapeum of Alexandria, when it was destroyed by the Decree ...
25
votes
2answers
3k views

When and where did socks become common?

To be clear, I mean the socks you wear on your feet, to insulate you form your shoes/boots/other footwear. By common, I mean easily available to the masses, rather than just to the rich.
4
votes
2answers
291 views

What led to the romantic perception of the Mayan civilization?

When the territories of the Mayan civilization were conquered in Mesoamerica, the European priests burnt all the books and references they could find about the Mayan culture. It was not until 1839 ...
0
votes
1answer
6k views

What does Spivak mean by “epistemic violence” in her paper “can the subaltern speak”? [closed]

What does G. Spivak mean by epistemic violence in her essay "Can the subaltern speak"? Does she mean that intellectuals in Europe and first world countries are prolonging and fixing the ...
-1
votes
1answer
71 views

In historical accounts, what relevance did the color yellow have as it relates to cultures and custums? [closed]

I am just curious on the history of yellow and the significance it may have had. I know purple often represented power, but what about yellow? Thank you!
9
votes
3answers
5k views

Viking culture: unhygienic use of water bowl

I am interested in understanding something which I have seen in the film 13th warrior where the Vikings all use the same bowl of water to clean themselves. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GkcsLFSAS30 ...
16
votes
8answers
2k views

What cultures did, or do, perform human sacrifice on a regular basis?

Looking at the Area 51 commitment page, I realized that some of the questions that were originally suggested there never got asked here, so I thought I'd add some of them. Something else I would like ...
9
votes
2answers
605 views

What was the social status of a man who failed the civil service exams in Imperial China ( 1200 - 1800 AD )?

Generally the merchant class was viewed with disdain while peasants were viewed with more respect as they were the producers. Scholars were perhaps most respected, and many important posts were held ...
13
votes
4answers
6k views

Why do Spaniards have their lunch and dinner so late?

I've been reading about it and many sites explain (unconvincingly, for me) that the reason why Spaniards currently have lunch around 2 and dinner around 9:30 is because during the 40s (after the civil ...
19
votes
3answers
2k views

Which cultures did *not* produce alcohol?

I've been reading Harold McGee's fascinating On Food and Cooking, and the chapter on alcohol has some interesting historical notes. He describes the widely varied and creative methods used in various ...
3
votes
1answer
89 views

Cultures of the image and cultures of the word

Steven Weinberg's 2002 review of Stephen Wolfram's A New Kind of Science contains the following: In this, Wolfram is allying himself with one side in the ancient struggle between what (with much ...