Stack Exchange Network

Stack Exchange network consists of 174 Q&A communities including Stack Overflow, the largest, most trusted online community for developers to learn, share their knowledge, and build their careers.

Visit Stack Exchange

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.

4
votes
0answers
167 views

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 ...
47
votes
5answers
12k views

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 ...
31
votes
7answers
5k views

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 ...
1
vote
2answers
145 views

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,...
19
votes
6answers
11k views

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 ...
5
votes
3answers
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 ...
1
vote
1answer
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 ...
5
votes
0answers
185 views

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 ...
88
votes
6answers
18k views

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 (...
7
votes
1answer
209 views

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 ...
0
votes
0answers
77 views

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 ...
11
votes
6answers
2k 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 ...
11
votes
2answers
4k views

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 ...
0
votes
1answer
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 ...
57
votes
5answers
12k 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 ...
12
votes
6answers
2k views

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 ...
10
votes
1answer
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 ...
2
votes
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? ...
1
vote
0answers
62 views

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.
6
votes
3answers
245 views

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 ...
2
votes
5answers
437 views

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 ...
8
votes
2answers
709 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 ...
5
votes
0answers
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. ...
36
votes
2answers
5k views

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 ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

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 ...
3
votes
0answers
87 views

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 ...
1
vote
2answers
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 ...
7
votes
2answers
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 ...
12
votes
7answers
8k views

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 ...
2
votes
0answers
131 views

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 ...
11
votes
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 ...
8
votes
2answers
420 views

When did furniture become common in the homes of most people in the British Isles?

When did they (regular people, rich people, etc.) start using stools and benches in the British Isles? My question is about daily life, not just the earliest archaeological finds. Specifically, I'm ...
7
votes
4answers
810 views

Earliest examples of “pop culture” in history

What is the earliest evidence of pop culture/viral trends throughout history? By pop culture I mean music, theater etc... Basically "gangam style" of the olden days. I understand that any sort of ...
23
votes
1answer
5k 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 ...
11
votes
2answers
352 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 ...
1
vote
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 ...
8
votes
1answer
285 views

Was it common practice for men to kiss on the lips in 1920s USA?

I recently watched a documentary about Eugene Debs, which included film of his release from prison in 1921. I was surprised to see that many of the men present greeted him by kissing him on the lips. ...
3
votes
0answers
123 views

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 ...
10
votes
4answers
3k views

Why do people say, “Alexander the Great conquered the world?”

In many books, articles, or even in folktales, whenever Alexander III of Macedon (referred to as Alexander the Great) is mentioned, it is said that he conquered the world. Even some historian say that ...
2
votes
1answer
185 views

Was arson prominent in the Kingdom of Hawaii?

Gast and Conrad's book about Francisco de Paula Marin's life in Hawaii contains entries from his journal. Several mention incidents and fears of arson, never ascribing responsibility: 30th Jany [...
1
vote
2answers
175 views

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?
23
votes
3answers
7k 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 ...
12
votes
3answers
15k 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
996 views

What was the origin of the Classical Antiquity culture?

I many times heard a version that the advances of the Ancient Greek culture were in fact borrowed from Egypt or the Middle East. I will not buy this. Classical Antiquity civilization had a lot of ...
4
votes
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 ...
2
votes
0answers
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 ...
4
votes
0answers
133 views

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 ...
6
votes
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 ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Looking for the 20th century painters on this t-shirt

I bought this t-shirt for a friend who is really into arts, but actually I don't know all the painters that are pictured on this shirt. Clock-wise, I recognize: René Magritte Edvard Munch Salvador ...
1
vote
0answers
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 ...