Questions tagged [social-history]

Social history is a methodological approach to history that focuses on examining what the 'ordinary' people in a given time and place were doing. It is strongly influenced by the mindset and techniques of sociology and often makes heavy use of quantitative methods to make statements about groups of people who left behind few written records.

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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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Did 9/11 change people's behavior during the playing of the national anthem?

The Star-Spangled Banner was adopted as the official national anthem of the United States in 1931. Up until June 1942 there were no guidelines given as to how people were to behave during the playing ...
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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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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 were the most common reactions to Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott?

I'm curious about the general reactions to historical events in civil rights by people wanting to keep the status quo. However, this information is hard to find. News clippings I can find are ...
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Is the scarlet letter 'A' a real historical thing?

I've heard someone say something like: It's not a scarlet letter, it's not a mark on your forehead you keep for life. Obviously this was said in terms of permanency of a badge of shame, or ...
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167 views

What is the social history of British popular opposition to Thatcher over the miner’s strike?

I tend to watch a lot of UK panel shows and while most of the comedians are Labour/liberal I'm still surprised at just how much they seem to hate Margaret Thatcher. Particularly this seems to be about ...
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Christmas trees - real or fake? When did the U.S. Christmas tree consumer begin preferring artificial trees to real trees?

Source: National Christmas Tree Association via Statista. Background Our family was watching (again) A Christmas Story last night, and during the scene where the Old Man is bargaining to purchase a ...
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When (and where) did public polling start taking place on topics other than elections?

Image Source: The Roper Center on Cornell.edu Question When did public opinion polling on topics other than elections begin? Are there examples prior to the 1930's when Gallup and Roper began ...
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Who Is to Be Served First, Duchess or Son?

Suppose this is England in the Victorian Era and there are two individuals, a duchess and her son, dining together. The son, roughly thirty or so years of age, is seated across the table from his ...
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What does MLK mean by “lonely island” and “vast ocean”?

In the speech, "I have a dream", M.L. King says the following: One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. What ...
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What social relationships existed between the popular mobility and the political elites in the revolutionary American colonies?

What social relationships existed between the popular mobility and the political elites in the revolutionary and potentially revolutionary British American colonies? For those unfamiliar with 18th ...
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199 views

Why, and how, was the Catholic Church in Spain reactionary in the early 20th century? [closed]

Right now I'm trying to learn about Spain's transition to democracy in the 20th century. To start, I'm looking at the civil war that took place in the '30s. And the question I'm trying to answer is: ...
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How can we be certain of customs in the primitive age?

I am currently reading Our Oriental Heritage by William Durant. In Chapter IV. The Family, Durant writes of woman: In the hunting stage she did almost all the work except the actual capture of the ...
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346 views

Why conceal the innocence of Alfred Dreyfus?

If Alfred Dreyfus was innocent and the people in the general staff knew it, why did they try to cover it up and protect the guilty man? Weren't they concerned that there was still a mole present?
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How were interracial relationships between African-Americans and Latinos treated in Southern states before the Loving decision?

There are two states in the American south that historically had large numbers of both African-Americans and Latinos, as well as laws banning marriage between black people and white people: Texas and ...
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Is there a historic reason for why the Balkans are so fragmented? [closed]

Is there a historic reason for why the Balkans are so fragmented? Because while I can't name any of the top of my head, I'm sure there are regions that are just as ethnically diverse, but with less ...
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In Edwardian England, did poor families arrange to have their children buried in the graves of unrelated adults?

In Max Arthur’s Lost Voices of the Edwardians, a "compilation of memories from the turn of the century" (1901 - 1910), one Florence Hannah Warn relates how her brother Gilbert was buried: When a ...
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367 views

Historical accuracy of gulag archipelago [closed]

How empirically and historically accurate is The Gulag Archipelago, by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn?
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Were Arctic communities aware how different daylight cycles were elsewhere?

At extreme latitudes, what we would think of as the typical day/night cycle becomes very different. The sun remains continuously visible for one day during the summer solstice at the polar circle, ...
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Was race really unimportant in the 1660's?

There's this quote by Lerone Bennett Jr. where he said: Back there [in the 1660s], before Jim Crow, before the invention of the Negro or the white man or the words and concepts to describe them, ...
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In a challenge to duel, what happened if a thrown gauntlet (and later, glove) was refused?

What would become of a gauntlet or glove after a denied duel? I'm not finding any hints on Google. Would the challenger abandon it after throwing it to their challengee's feet, as a matter of honor? ...
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What was the perception of the average British person of the Boston Tea Party?

Do we have any record of the reaction of the average British person to the Boston Tea Party? Would the proverbial man on the street have been aware of the event? If so, what was their perception of it ...
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In segregated South, would Asian-Americans be treated as “colored” or as whites?

During racial segregation in USA many businesses had signs that either restricted service to a particular race or that directed different races through different entrances. Some examples of this ...
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Historic leisure activities (especially the elderly) [closed]

I am curious to know how people, especially elderly people, used to spend their time in the past. Did they work until their death? It would also be interesting how these were different concerning ...
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206 views

Khagantes, Aghas, and Sultanates, a feudalism of the east?

I'm confused about these terms, to keep it simple I've heard of people refer to khagantes and the system of Aghas in Kurdistan and sultanates as a kind of feudalism of the East with a pretty close ...
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336 views

What was the first recorded instance of sex or violence being inappropriate for children to see?

When was the first time in history (that we have a record for) that sex and/or violence became inappropriate for children to see and/or know about (more than it was inappropriate in front of adults)? ...
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How did close-knit and urban society function before the advent of daily bathing?

I was watching a fictional drama about 1920 and, seeing the characters fighting and sweating and dressed in heavy woolen clothes, it piqued my interest about human bathing. How did societies cope ...
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792 views

Were there cases of bride kidnapping in the medieval period?

In the Medieval period in Europe was there ever been any occurrence of a royal/nobleman capturing a fellow high-born woman (potentially from another country) for the sake of marrying her (and thus ...
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200 views

Education during World War 2

I'm currently working on a research paper for my World War II class and I've decided that I wanted to pursue the topic of education in Nazi occupied Europe during WWII. However, after doing loads of ...
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What defined a Jew in the context of WW2? [closed]

What made a Jew? It's a complex question, primarily because borders in Central and Eastern Europe were moving back and forth in the 150 years preceding WW2, mostly because Poland was annexed for over ...
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How did life for commoners in Okinawa change with the Satsuma invasion?

In 1609, the kingdom of Ryukyu which covers what is today known as Okinawa, was invaded by the Japanese Satsuma clan. How did this affect the everyday life of commoners (Everybody not noble or a ...
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174 views

Were there distinctions between Arab, Berbers and Iberian Muslims in 10th century Islamic Spain?

The Muslims of al-Andalus (Islamic Iberia) consisted of Arabs, Berbers and native Iberians who converted to Islam (+descendants). Were there significant social distinctions between the three ethnic ...
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603 views

How many hours a week did the Tolpuddle Martyrs work?

I can find lots of references to the pay rate of the Tolpuddle Martyrs (originally 10 shillings a week, then reduced to seven shillings and were due to be further reduced to six) but how many hours a ...
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772 views

In historical slave societies, what jobs were left over for poor free laborers?

And what laws or institutions sprang up to deal with them? Slaves have the effect of depressing wages for poor workers. If this has been a universal, I'm curious whether slave-owning cultures have ...
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How accurate was the depiction of the Japanese Canadian community in the movie Vancouver Asahi?

In the movie "Vancouver Asahi", it is shown that Japanese Canadians in Vancouver lived in their ethnic neighborhood and did not mingle with white Canadians at work. second generation "Nisei" people ...
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458 views

How were laws promulgated in the Middle Ages?

These days, new laws are usually announced to the public through the publication of government gazettes and/or on official government websites. How did the public find out about new laws before ...
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What is the earliest evidence of vocation and birth based social stratification?

The caste system in India as practiced today has several layers of complexities, mostly undesirable ones. But it's a reality. Now, it's commonly accepted that the Indus Valley civilization involved ...
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How could Jews integrate into Western modern society back when Saturday was a normal working day?

My understanding is that Saturday has only become day off for most people since the 60s-70s, and before World War II it was a working day just like Monday-Friday are today. Also my understanding is ...
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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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Did classical Romans wear any sort of swimwear?

Say that a classical Roman decided they wanted to go for a swim in a lake or at a beach, and they expected other people to be able to see them. Would they have worn some sort of swimwear or gone nude? ...
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Did any U.S. states or cities (outside of New York) ever make a decision to construct nuclear fallout shelters for their population?

According to this Wikipedia article on fallout shelters Germany has protected shelters for 3% of its population, Austria for 30%, Finland for 70%, Sweden for 81% and Switzerland for 114% Above ...
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Is there evidence to suggest that the strike of the Matchwomen in 1888 gave rise to the modern union movement?

We read: I had thought that the union movement had more to do with the strikes of Ned Ludd. My question is: Is there evidence to suggest that the strike of the Matchwomen in 1888 gave rise to ...
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986 views

How long did it take to make a 16th Century arrow?

While researching 16th Century arrow making, I read an article on the length of time to produce a complete arrow. My computer crashed before I secured the article, so if anyone can help it would be ...
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242 views

Was the “music man” on target with his claims of “pool” being trouble in 1912?

The American show, "the Music Man," was first staged in 1957. (The movie was made in 1962.) In the show, the protagonist characterized the local pool or billiard hall as a place for gambling, swearing,...
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206 views

Can anyone identify this sword?

It's been around for years in the attic and I would love to find out where it's from. Thank you.
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183 views

What did the Russian ambassador to Japan do during his trip to London?

The Nadezhda stopped September 28th, 1803 in Falmouth, Cornwall to obtain salt meat [Voyage Round the World in the Years 1803, 1804, 1805, & 1806, pp. 35]. Imperial ambassador to Japan Nikolai ...
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217 views

Did they have a word for psychopath in ancient Rome?

The word psychopath only dates back to the 19th Century. It is difficult to imagine, given the Romans' sophistication level in all kinds of matters, that they could not differentiate among various ...
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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? ...