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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729 views

What is Machiavelli wearing in his painting?

This may not be completely relevant to this board, but what was Machiavelli wearing in his painting? I have looked and I couldn't find anything like it. Was his black "overcoat" only around in his ...
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Was classical Alexandria really this brutal and class-segregated?

"The Perniciously Persistent Myths of Hypatia and the Great Library" by David Bentley Hart in the journal First Things claims that while Hypatia was indeed murdered by a mob of angry ...
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What was the Chinese impact on Japanese culture and the arts after ~1750?

What significant and subtle impacts has China had on Japanese social dynamics and the arts from ~1750 to the early nineteen hundreds? If at all possible include dates on which changes happened ...
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Are there documented shifts in how history, time, and accuracy were regarded in society? [closed]

I recall an interview where Reza Aslan described that History, in its present form, didn't always exist that way. That is the rigor, validation, and peer review wasn't present. Instead, it was a ...
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Where does the concept of traffic keeping to the “right” side of the street originate?

In any nation that has cars, there are well-understood rules about how to operate them. If a road is shared by traffic going both ways, everyone will, by law and convention, stick to either the right ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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Why do the Japanese sing Ode to Joy during the Japanese New Year?

During the New Years days, 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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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, ...
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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, ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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Why women in English-speaking world commonly assume husband's family name after marriage, but women in China do not? [closed]

In English-speaking world, it is a common practice that women assume their husband's family name after marriage. This seems to be a practice that somewhat reflect patrilineality. In contrast, ...
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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.
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Why was PTSD not written about as much before the 20th century?

As late as WW1 there was very little literature surrounding PTSD/'shellshock'. In fact, the term was not coined until the 1980's. Considering the fact that warfare has been a part of human life since ...
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Cultural history of Saudi Arabian rulers' uniform beard style?

Why is it that all Saudi Arabian rulers and princes, 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.) ...
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Was drinking coffee with milk illegal under the Ottoman Empire?

Did the Ottoman Empire ever ban the consumption of coffee with milk? I know Sultan Murad IV banned drinking coffee by itself, but was there any laws on drinking coffee with milk? If so, what was the ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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What is the historical relationship between Yule and Christmas?

What is the historical relationship between Yule and Christmas? Yule is in part a set of secular and religious observances of a festival, arising out of pagan Germanic cultures. Christmas is in part ...
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Did the division between East and West Germany coincide with cultural boundaries?

I understand that at the conclusion of World War II, Germany was divided into East Germany (under the Soviet Union) and West Germany (under the Western powers). Prior to the division, was there any ...
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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 ...
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What was the third best-selling book in the antebellum US?

Uncle Tom's Cabin was the best-selling novel in antebellum America and the second best-selling book overall. The Bible, of course, was number one. Here's an insanely detailed rundown of UTC's sales ...
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Were Medieval Britons aware of the existence of the Roman Empire?

I would like to know if the medieval people in Britain, by around 800 AD, knew that there was an empire that ruled Britain several hundreds of years before. Otherwise, were there any myths, legends, ...
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What ideas diffused into China via the trade route established by emperor Han Wudi with the area around Persia? [closed]

China was relatively isolated in the far east, but suddenly the situation changed as emperor Han Wudi, famous for his vital foreign politics established economic relations with Bactria and Iran.
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What were the cultures of peasants in China during the Hundred Schools period (600-221BCE)?

During the Hundred Schools period (600-221 BCE) Chinese cultures changed significantly as ideas were contested amongst the ruling elite. What do we know of peasant cultures in China during this ...
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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 ...
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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 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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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 (...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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Can someone give me an example of stimulus diffusion from history? [closed]

Can someone give me an example of stimulus diffusion from history? I can't find anything on Google that doesn't have to do with McDonalds.
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What was the hippie movement? Why did it decline? [closed]

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. ...
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Have wartime conditions traditionally decreased or increased consensual sexual activity in the young?

In joshbirk's Answer to the question Hogwarts: So why aren't the kids doing it? he claims that wartime atmosphere would decrease sexual activity in the students: Towards the end of the series / ...
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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 ...
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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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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 ...
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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 neo-...
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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!
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...