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Questions tagged [cultural-history]

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, sculpture, and other forms of art.

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Are there any historical examples of (non government-approved) fake news having a strong effect?

Right now there is great concern about "fake news", with calls to regulate journalists and social media to prevent people from seeing or propagating fake news stories. I would like to know what kind ...
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When did worship of Baal cease to exist?

I read in Luke a spot where people, witnessing a miracle of Jesus, attribute it to Beelzebub "the chief of the devils." The other apparent reference to that deity, in the Bible, is in 2 Kings 1. I ...
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Have breasts been proudly and publicly uncovered, in any culture, without general disapproval?

Are there, or have there been, any cultures in which women uncover and treat their own breasts in much the same way that some men treat their own beards (either with pride, or as a display of ...
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What are some of ancient maps created from a single perspective?

Years ago I read that other civilizations had maps like that of the Herodotus, naming lands or peoples according to cardinal directions but without referring to them as continent or ethnicity. But ...
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Are “pots of memory” an historical custom?

I found a term "pots of memory" in a novel. I searched on the web but I could not find any clues. The novel, "Kokushikan Satsujinjiken" by Mushitaro Oguri was published 1934 in Japan and people ...
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To prevent sex were men bound in bags or locked in beds?

I remember in the past, before marriage, a woman’s family would bind her man when he stayed with her in a sleeping bag or bed. Essentially it would lock him into this bag/bed thing so he couldn’t ...
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Why there is no Islamic architecture with glass in windows before 18th century?

Why there is no Islamic architecture with glass in windows before 18th century? Glass windows frequently appear in gothic architecture since 11th century but why Medieval Islamic architecture lack ...
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What is the history of the “surrender” gesture?

The surrender gesture seems to be obvious to us - you drop your weapon, put your hands up and maybe drop to your knees or even prostrate yourself. But were those gestures universal across the globe ...
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How do we know baroque art depicted obese ladies because of a different ideal of beauty?

I've often heard that the obesity of women in baroque art signs that such women were the ideal of beauty. How could we know that? And how could we know it wasn't just "cultural rationalization" of a ...
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Why did Athenian philosophers praise Spartan culture and laws, which would preclude philosophers like themselves?

Laconophilia was near universal among the important Athenian philosophers: Socrates, Aristotle, Plato and his followers - all praised Spartan culture and its laws, even after Sparta fell from glory ...
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What are canonical sources about fifth century BCE Athens?

I am looking for a history book on fifth century BCE Athens, preferably with emphasis on culture and the daily lives of the Athenians. I found recommendations of books about Ancient Greece in general,...
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When and where did people first start wearing underpants?

Specifically, when did people start wearing short underpants in addition to trousers? Loincloths and breechcloths have been worn since at least the neolithic, and various types of skirts since ancient ...
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When did tea become “a thing” in England?

Tea was certainly available to the aristocracy from at least the mid 18th century, but the concept of "tea" (as in tea break, afternoon tea, high tea, etc.) didn't become prominent until its adoption ...
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In epic migrations, why keep going?

Over time human cultures tend to naturally migrate, influenced by various push and pull factors. According to the gravity model of migration and specifically the concept of distance decay, very few of ...
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Was the “Anthropophagic Manifesto” written with “The Cosmic Race” in mind?

José Vasconcelos published The Cosmic Race in 1925. In his view Mexico could construct a new, better race from the diverse origins of its people. Oswald de Andrade published his Anthropophagic ...
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177 views

Can a country only have one indigenous population?

I recently came across the Kalash people of Pakistan and Afghanistan (thanks to this amazing music, if anyone's interested). As far as I can tell, studies seem to suggest the Kalash are indigenous to ...
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Why do foreign dignitaries inspect guards of honour upon arrival?

I've been watching videos of various dignitaries (heads of state, heads of government, important officials, etc.) arriving for state visits in foreign countries. I noticed that upon disembarking from ...
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From Degania Alef (1909) on towards the formation of the state of Israel, what what were the major features of a Kibbutz? [closed]

I’m inquiring about the population, land area, facilities, education, skills, activities and developments related to a Kibbutz and its inhabitants.
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What was the early understanding of static electricity shocks?

What was the common understanding of electric shocks caused by static electricity in the ancient world and middle ages? I'm talking about the shock when you touch something on a dry day for example. ...
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A magic system at least partially based on the real-world cultural history of magic?

EDIT: Just to clarify, when I refer to magic, I am referring to the supernatural variety, not the stage variety. PREFACE: It was recommended to me that I might try and have this answered by the ...
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How much did the western world know about the Soviet Union pre-WWII?

This question is inspired by being surprised at the insight of George Orwell's Animal Farm. For some reason, I had the impression that the western world was in the dark about the horribleness of the ...
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1answer
143 views

What literature explains life in Han dynasty tomb towns?

I've read in the book, The Early Chinese Empires: Qin and Han by Mark Edward Lewis, that ancient Chinese Emperors, upon their death, would have massive tomb hills/temples erected for their bodies to ...
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Why didn't Europeans before Gutenberg print with woodblocks?

Before the invention of the printing press and movable type (and some related innovations) by Johannes Gutenberg, books in Europe were generally only reproduced if someone copied them by hand. In ...
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Who was the real beginner of Lord Ganesha festival?

Introduction Ganesha is one of the most well-known and loved gods in Hinduism and is admired by most members of a Hindu family. Ganesh Chaturthi, one of the most popular festivals in India brings ...
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Which time period is this wax doll?

We have an antique doll which we would like to learn more about. Can you please identify which time period this could possibly be from and the traditional dress they are wearing? If it's possible, the ...
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The diversity of human eating utensils

In English we have specific words for the main eating utensils: Fork Knife Spoon These are specifically what we place into our hands for eating. I am not too aware of what it is like currently in ...
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What is the origin of 3 meals a day?

Wondering if there is an origin of the "3 meals a day" concept. For example, in English we have specific words for them: Breakfast. Lunch. Dinner. But we have a few more for other meals in the day (...
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Before 1800, were there major schools of Islamic thought that relaxed behavior rules for women on the Hajj?

It is my understanding that most comprehensive works of Islamic thought (past and present) do the following: (a) Give rules or guidelines for behavior, some of them specific to women; (b) Give rules ...
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Where does this hairstyle originate from?

I've seen the shaved head with a pony tail hairstyle in some cartoons and video games. Examples: Are these hairstyles "historically accurate"? Are they based upon a certain culture / history or were ...
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What are the most famous individual toys in modern history? [closed]

Continuing my interest in the history of toys: Have there been any famous individual toys besides Winnie the Pooh and Paddington Bear? (Both were inspired by actual stuffed animals.) By individual I ...
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665 views

Who was “The famous American Roberts” in 1920's Europe?

Reading this clip from a German newspaper left me puzzled: Die praktischen, die smarten Amerikaner! Das Girl haben sie bei uns eingeführt und den Jazz und die Songs mit Rachenkatarrh, und die ...
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2answers
424 views

Is there evidence that the annual pilgrimage to Mecca facilitated cultural exchanges?

I've read once (but I don't recall where anymore) that the Hajj, that is, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, had an important non-religious consequence in medieval times, namely the fast spread of new ...
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What evidence do we have for the state of ecstasy in primitive cultures?

I'm studying anthropology just out of curiosity and my knowledge on this field is really limited. I am interested in the state of ecstasy and its effects in primitive psychology. What evidence do we ...
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Ancient civilizations and their habits [closed]

What native tribe used to give much food as a gift. The people ate too much and then vomited so they could eat more. What is the name for this custom?
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Have the arts ever moved borders?

Many computer games (like Civilization and Endless Space), implement a "culture" or "influence" score that applies outward pressure on national borders. These scores are depicted as being raised by ...
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In what contexts did male friends kiss in Europe in the 1700s?

In Stanley Kubrick's film Barry Lyndon, there's an scene where the title character's mentor, Captain Grogan, is gunned down by French troops. As he lies dying he asks Barry to "kiss me, my boy, for we ...
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216 views

What were late eighteenth century British models of heroism?

The late eighteenth century (1780s, 90s) is sometimes characterized as a period of high idealism. Although it would be another few decades before Napoleon arrived in full force, and about half a ...
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Why is the Philippines spelled with 'ph' but Filipino spelled with 'f'? [closed]

This question could be a toss-up between linguistics and history, but considering the answer is almost certainly due to the historical background surrounding the terms, here is the better choice. Why ...
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1answer
105 views

Pre-1900s advertising methods targeting a sub-population stratified by demography/social classification

In my view, the term "Millennial" (insert air quotes) now defines the current young (< 40 years of age) generation. It also possibly provides some sort of identity to a generation who are ...
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Are there known cultures which did not get it that it takes a man to create a child? [duplicate]

In Patrick Rothfuss' "Kingkiller Chronicle", a fantasy epic, the Adem are a nation of warriors where both sexes are equal. Apart from using sign language and being quite libertarian about sex, the ...
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Earliest story?

Personal amateur research shows The Epic of Giglamesh to be the earliest work of literature. I am curious if ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs depicted histories, warnings or tales? Are any simple stories ...
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143 views

Was the sprouting of seeds for food production known in Europe before 1800?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sprouting Was this not known in Europe?
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Is there a name for analyzing historical societies based on who murders who?

When I was in college mumblety years ago, I had a professor who mentioned an interesting idea I'd like to learn more about. While discussing the society of the Roman Empire, she mentioned in passing ...
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563 views

Why did American Abolitionists believe slavery to be immoral? [closed]

Someone already asked when and how people began to consider slavery immoral on stack exchange, but no one has asked why. Why did American abolitionists believe slavery was immoral before 1860? I know ...
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Where and how did pinky promises / swear originate?

So I found this article around it, but does not mentioned references and not sure if its comprehensive. The pinky-promise, more serious than we thought Posted by Camayak plug-in | Nov 4, 2015 | ...
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1answer
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Is there historical evidence on what might have been a maximum hair length for males in 1st century Judea?

I am interested in getting a better idea of what a maximum acceptable hair length might have been for Jewish men in the Roman province of Judea (i.e. Israel). Because the province at the time was ...
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4answers
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Did the medieval Europe have an active “lowbrow” culture?

When we look back on another age, we tend to skip to the highlights. That goes double for things like art, sports, literature, and music. But in our own time, we recognize that by divine fiat 90% of ...
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How do historians and linguists know how to pronounce the names from non-phonetic scripts?

If we take hieroglyphic writings like the Egyptian one, an Egyptologist knows that this hieroglyph must be interpreted as Nefertiti. Or we can see in the following Sumerian cuneiform script that ...
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Did the Germans rule England? [closed]

Is it true that: For quite a long period Germans ruled England. They dominated English so much so that the English language was about to lose its prime importance amongst the populace. Later on, ...
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5answers
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When did people decide that all caps means the writer is shouting?

Nowadays, writing in all caps tends to indicate that the writer is shouting. FOR EXAMPLE IF I TYPE LIKE THIS PEOPLE EQUATE THIS TO SHOUTING. My understanding from cursory googling is that letters ...