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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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 ...
user12177's user avatar
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30 votes
5 answers
7k views

Why don't people without access to clean water drink beer anymore?

In the medieval ages, peasants used to drink beer instead of water because the plain water wasn't safe to drink. Why do people in countries where the water sources are polluted not do this today? Why ...
Tom's user avatar
  • 603
27 votes
1 answer
7k views

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 ...
Crème Caramelita's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
2k views

How did people categorize each other in the middle ages, how did racism work? [closed]

I'm interested in the european high middle ages, about the 12th-13th century. I'm trying to understand how people sorted each other. Nowadays, some overlapping categories people use would be: ...
mart's user avatar
  • 4,768
54 votes
7 answers
16k views

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, ...
Mou某's user avatar
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34 votes
4 answers
11k views

Why is it that the maiden name is traditionally dropped when a woman is getting married?

Haven't seen anything online, even after googling. Wikipedia seems to only list the countries that support the practice, but offers no history. Why is it that the maiden name is traditionally dropped ...
yuritsuki's user avatar
  • 920
32 votes
2 answers
3k views

When did the term "Nationality" first come into use? How did ancient civilizations refer to themselves? By ethnicity?

When was the term "Nationality" first came into use? How did ancient civilizations refer to themselves? When we refer to Ancient Civilizations, did they consider themselves a nation in the modern ...
The Byzantine's user avatar
22 votes
4 answers
26k views

Why did some people need to pay a bond in the 1700s in order to get married?

This is more a genealogy question than a historical event but I couldnt think of anywhere else to ask it. (I hope it not off topic) In 1787 my Great (x6) Grandfather paid a bond of £200 the ...
stephenmyall's user avatar
21 votes
3 answers
782 views

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, ...
Azor Ahai -him-'s user avatar
20 votes
5 answers
5k views

When did the English and Americans realize that vegetables were healthy?

I've recently come across two quotes in very unrelated sources implying that for centuries, the English and their colonial offspring did not appreciate the role of vegetables in a healthy diet. From "...
two sheds's user avatar
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19 votes
7 answers
4k views

Spanish-American war from Spain's perspective?

What did the Spanish-American war look like from Spain's perspective? Did the general population support the war? What were the reasons why Spain lost, was the general public aware of these reasons ...
Ovi's user avatar
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18 votes
7 answers
10k views

What is the earliest reference to "space aliens"?

If we go back sufficiently far in human history we will most likely see that any descriptions of (supposed) "aliens" are described solely in religious terms. So in the distant past, any weird or "...
user avatar
18 votes
1 answer
6k views

How educated were the clergy during the Medieval period?

I understand that Latin was common language of clergy in Medieval times. I presume that bishops could read and write. There were also some monks responsible of copying books. What about "normal" ...
Voitcus's user avatar
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14 votes
2 answers
3k views

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 ...
called2voyage's user avatar
13 votes
5 answers
1k views

Have any armies equipped/fed their officers and enlisted men equally?

In the Soviet army during WW2 the officers had bigger food rations. They also had better boots (kirza vs. leather). The air force pilots were fed even better (but that is not very relevant). What ...
sds's user avatar
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13 votes
3 answers
7k views

When did the last formal and recorded duel take place?

It seems that duels are no longer fought because of a combination of both changes in law and in fashions. E.g. Tom Reiss' The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte ...
Drux's user avatar
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12 votes
2 answers
2k views

Historical, academic explanations for the near-universal second-class citizenship of women?

I just heard on the news that, in 70 countries, girls face risks by simply going to school and being girls. How did women come to be second-class citizens throughout the world? Are there any ...
shadowtalker's user avatar
12 votes
1 answer
22k views

What was the age of majority in 1900 United States?

What was the age of majority in 1900, in the United States? For women and for men? I am not asking about the age of consent. The age of majority is the chronological moment when minors cease to ...
LILOU's user avatar
  • 123
12 votes
5 answers
2k views

What happens after a widespread social chaos? [closed]

I have a pretty limited knowledge in History but I want to know the future (or outcome) of the Tunisian revolution based on the development of current events and also on some data that I know/can ...
Omar Abid's user avatar
  • 197
11 votes
3 answers
4k views

During the U.S. Prohibition, how did they get away with drinking alcohol?

I have heard about countless stories talking about people drinking during the Prohibition. How was this possible? How did they get away with drinking alcohol without getting caught?
Chantola's user avatar
  • 958
11 votes
3 answers
18k views

When did monogamy become the norm in Ancient Greece?

This article says The case for an automatic association between Christianity and monogamy is weakened further by the fact that socially imposed monogamy was first established in ancient Greece and ...
user4951's user avatar
  • 5,521
10 votes
2 answers
1k views

Was there anything like an African-American architectural style or symbolism at the beginning of the 20th century?

At the beginning of 20th century, large masses of black people were migrating to northern states or between districts of the same towns (like in New York from Tenderloin or San Juan Hill to Harlem, ...
Darek Wędrychowski's user avatar
8 votes
2 answers
361 views

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 ...
Wottensprels's user avatar
8 votes
1 answer
659 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 ...
parsley72's user avatar
  • 183
8 votes
2 answers
2k views

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 ...
Kerry L's user avatar
  • 6,187
8 votes
2 answers
4k views

Were slaves allowed to use the Roman baths?

Or to quip: could slaves be patrons of baths?
Felix Goldberg's user avatar
7 votes
4 answers
813 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 ...
Nikolai's user avatar
  • 446
6 votes
3 answers
3k views

Les Misérables historical setting

What is the period in French history portrayed in Les Misérables in the early 1800s? Also, who was the French King at that time - the restored King? I thought the French Revolution was in the late ...
Elaine Silverstrim's user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
8k views

What sort(s) of identification were used before driver's licenses were issued in the US?

In the United States, before driver's licenses became a nearly universal means of identification (i.e., before autos), what form of identification was routinely used? For example if one was arrested, ...
tcrosley's user avatar
  • 404
5 votes
2 answers
540 views

When did people start caring for the handicapped? [closed]

Did people in the past concern themselves with the welfare of the handicapped, such as the blind and the deaf, or did they neglect them? Was e.g. the "Amnericans with Disabilities Act" a new ...
md nth's user avatar
  • 1,652
5 votes
5 answers
7k views

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, ...
Vitruvie's user avatar
  • 177
2 votes
1 answer
301 views

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 ...
Venture2099's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
529 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? ...
M. Harrow's user avatar
-3 votes
1 answer
490 views

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 ...
Ethan Chan's user avatar