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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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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Why did Native Americans never unify into a single country? [closed]

At a time when Europe and Asia had already united into several powerful military nations, the American Indian still lived in a tribal society which numbered over 2000 tribes. Why, in over 10,000 years ...
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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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Is there a meaning in a name marked on the rear of a headstone rather than the front?

I have found a family headstone with the names of the deceased on the front (with many details), and a military cross (for their son) in front of the stone. On the rear of the stone is a name and age,...
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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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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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What's the correlation between an excessive unmarried male population and a big war breaking out?

I recently heard a commentator talking about the effects of the one-child policy in China. It went basically like this: For various economic and cultural reasons, it's considered better to have a ...
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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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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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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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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 "...
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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 there any resource to learn interiors of a house for particular classes in 17th Century in Bohemia?

I would like to learn details of the living places for particular classes and professions in Bohemia in 17th Century. (For example a burgher, or carpenter guild master etc.) I try some novels written ...
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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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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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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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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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How did ululation originate and spread?

Ulu or Ululation is the sound produced by throated "OOO' sound combined with moving the tongue rapidly sideways. This is done only by women (I think). Its done in Bengal (India), Morroco (Africa) and ...
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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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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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Whatever happened to Turing's friend Arnold Murray?

Whatever happened to Arnold Murray, Alan Turing's friend who was convicted for theft. I could not find any later information on Murray or any recorded interview of his reminiscence of Turing. Thanks.
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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 were birthdays like in Medieval times?

I considered putting this question on Worldbuilding SE, but decided it would be better suited here, as it is about history. I am doing some research for a fantasy medieval novel, and I was wondering ...
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Why did families in 6th century Mecca send their babies to be raised in the desert?

Biographies of Muhammad mentions that in his early childhood he was looked after by a wet-nurse Halimah, from a few days after his birth until he was 4. It seems customary for Meccan families to do so:...
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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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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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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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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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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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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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What was the social and cultural role of a “country squire” in Victorian/Edwardian England?

In Agatha Christie's "The Murder of Roger Ackroyd", the following passage appears: Ackroyd has always interested me by being a man more impossibly like a country squire than any country squire ...
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How does one wash with sand?

Maimonides refers to washing with sand. He may wash his clothes in water, but not with soap or using sand. Does anyone know how this was done?
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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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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 ...
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Historical accuracy of gulag archipelago [closed]

How empirically and historically accurate is The Gulag Archipelago, by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn?
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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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Was there anything like African American architecture style or symbolic in the beginning of 20th century?

At the beginning of 20th century, large masses of black people were migrating to North or between districts of the same towns (like in New York from Tenderloin or San Juan Hill to Harlem, previously ...
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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 ...
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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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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 ...
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Who introduced Yoga to the West?

Yoga has been accepted as a way of life by so many people around the world irrespective of the religion and country. There is world wide promotion for Yoga and June 21 is going to be celebrate as ...
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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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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)? ...