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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79 views

Has anyone written Australian history from the perspective of the original inhabitants - the aborigines?

I once read that an aboriginal man from Australia in an ironic gesture planted a flag on English soul and proclaimed it now was a part of the aboriginal empire. I’m curious as to whether there have ...
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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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Have any large scale cultural or ideological shifts ever been successfully reversed by those who opposed it?

Looking at the current political and cultural scene in many societies, one sees a pattern of tension between on one hand modernists and progressives, who see themselves as moving forward and being on ...
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How long have culture wars/cultural dichotomies been around? [closed]

It seems that most contemporary societies have some sort of cultural dichotomy or culture war going on. In the West it is Left vs. Right. In Middle Eastern countries it is Secular vs. Religious. In ...
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Had Andrade read the work of Vasconcelos?

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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Was touching your nose a greeting in second millenium Mesopotamia?

I ran across a curious sentence today, in a Mesopotamian prayer to a personal god (the grammar looked better in verse format): "Daily worship your god with offerings, prayers and appropriate ...
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Was there a reason Hitler saluted differently to everyone else?

When people think of the nazi salute, the hand is generally out in front, around 45° palm down. Sometimes it would be lower, which I think reinforces that it's a "palm open and down" gesture: ...
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How old is the practice of a woman accompanying another woman to the ladies restroom? [closed]

I am curious to know how old is the practice of a woman accompanying another woman to the ladies restroom. I assume that this practice began in America and Europe when indoor plumbing and indoor ...
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A question about the definition of heresy (13th. C)

I write considering a definition of heresy, given by Grosseteste, Bishop of Lincoln (fl. 1235), who's words are widely cited in regards to the history of the inquisition: An opinion created by human ...
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What are Kublai Khan's contributions to culture?

I was under the impression that Genghis Khan was an invader while Kublai was more of a patron of fine arts; but reading Wikipedia it mainly mentions his campaigns for the Mongol throne and the ...
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History of monogamy [closed]

Is monogamy a feature of advanced cultures that emphasize a person’s individuality? I mean cultures that treat someone as person and not as an anonymous part of something else, e.g. nature or a tribe.
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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 ...
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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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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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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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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 is the significance of “Flappers” in American history?

The Flapper image of the 1920's American history of cosmetics seems to transform the cultural image of the feminine. However, I cannot piece together exactly how this change came about. I read about ...
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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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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 surface area per person is required for hunter-gatherers?

I am sure I have read it somewhere, but I can't figure out in which book anymore (I think Steve Pinker's How the Mind Works) Most of human (pre-)history (and evolution) has happened in a foraging ...
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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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How come every culture on the planet has a different calendar, yet follow the same system for a week?

I know it sounds a bit like a silly question. Every culture in the world follow a different Calendar, for instance: Christians follow a solar calendar following the birth of Jesus Christ (2014. AD ...
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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 does Romanian culture have Latin influences?

Romania is located between Bulgaria, Serbia on one side and Ukraine/many Slavic countries on the other. Romanian is however a Romance (Latin) language, and not Slavic. They don't use the Cyrillic ...
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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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Is the swastika in The Great Gatsby anti-semitic?

In the Great Gatsby, in Chapter 9 Fitzgerald writes that Nick visited Meyer Wolfsheim and that he was in an office with a door marked "Swastika Holding Company." The Great Gatsby was written between ...
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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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295 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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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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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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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 ...
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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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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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Are Americans More Obsessed With the Military Aspect of History? If so, why? [closed]

If there is anything in my mind that has been particularly pronounced about American historical interests it has been an overriding interest in the military aspects of history. This can be viewed in ...
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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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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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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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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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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 ...
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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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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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When did “cultural appropriation” become a concept?

Acts which nowadays are called cultural appropriation have been going on for a long time in the US, at least since the 19th century. But when did certain behaviours start getting labelled in the US as ...
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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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How Did the Mongol Empire Get So Big?

Undoubtedly, the largest empire in the existence of human history was the Mongol Empire, once a hodgepodge of warring nomadic tribes from Central Asia before banding together under the banner of ...
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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 ...