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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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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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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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307 views

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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229 views

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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114 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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379 views

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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153 views

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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2answers
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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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143 views

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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6answers
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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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2answers
176 views

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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478 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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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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3answers
244 views

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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193 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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156 views

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
102 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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1answer
379 views

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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2answers
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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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464 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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2k views

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
156 views

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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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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324 views

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 ...
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1answer
414 views

How much did the culture of Anatolian Gallic settlers differ from their kin in Gaul?

It is known that some Gallic tribes emigrated to Anatolia in Roman era. In Livy's History of Rome, 38.16 - (cited from a reddit article), it is mentioned about their arrival to Anatolia by an ...
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1answer
463 views

Intuitive misconceptions [closed]

Are there any ideas that one would have in History intuitively that would be disproven by analysis? On the other hand, are there any intuitive historical ideas that have been verified by historians? ...
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3answers
397 views

Animosity between Mandarin-speaking and Cantonese-speaking Chinese?

The PRC-ROC schism aside, has there historically been (or is there today) any animosity or feelings of cultural or racial superiority between Mandarin-speaking Chinese and Cantonese-speaking Chinese? ...
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3answers
768 views

Why did some ancient societies make human sacrifices but others did not?

Why did some ancient societies like the Mayans and Aztecs make human sacrifices whereas others such as the Romans did not? Was this just chance or was there some environmental difference that made ...
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1answer
346 views

Were there any Ancient Greek theatres not built on a hill/slope?

I was wondering the other day whether there were any Ancient Greek theatres that weren't built on the side of a hill. Normally we associate them with having a curved, raised seating area. The purposes ...
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128 views

Mongolian (Tengrist) water ritual?

Is there a Mongolian (or Tengrist) ritual of throwing water in front of someone before they set off on a journey? Or is that just a Turkish thing?
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1answer
77 views

History of calendar of different culture [closed]

Why in almost every calendar of different culture, a week consists of seven days? Are there any link between different calendars?
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2answers
307 views

Where Are The Jane Fonda's Of Yesteryear? [closed]

Not long ago, New Orleans removed a well-known statue of Robert E. Lee that stood high on a pedestal in the middle of Lee Circle. That’s one of many recent examples of communities removing monuments ...
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How did the Crimean war change British society?

Background: My summer reading goal is to get a handle on Europe from 1850-1914, with a strong focus on the British Empire, and within that a focus on England. So far, I've seen multiple historians ...