Algorithms Associating Criminality and Appearance Have a Dark Past

In some cases, the explicit goal of these technologies is to deny opportunities to those deemed unfit. ‘Phrenology’ has an old-fashioned ring to it. It sounds like it belongs in a history book, filed somewhere between bloodletting and velocipedes. We’d like to think that judging people’s worth based on the size and shape of their[…]

The Beast of Gévaudan: Hyperbole and Supernatural Hype in 18th-Century France

While the creature’s name remained simple, its reputation soon grew extremely complex. This article, The Beast of Gévaudan (1764–1767), was originally published in The Public Domain Review under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0. If you wish to reuse it please see: In the 1760s, nearly three hundred people were killed in a remote region of south-central[…]

Elizabeth I and the Power of Image

Elizabeth I engage in a memorable invention of herself as a legend in her own lifetime. Introduction Aware of the power of appearances, Elizabeth I of England (r. 1558-1603 CE) carefully controlled her image throughout her reign and through costume, hair, jewellery, and art, she presented herself as the great Virgin Queen. Like a goddess[…]

The Ancient Roman Republic’s Adoption of Rhetoric

In Cicero’s Rome, the government eventually came under the control of a well-trained ruling class. Introduction As Athens declined in power, a new force emerged, the Roman Republic. The Senate was the only permanent governing body and the only body where debate was possible. In order to debate, one had to know the persuasive art[…]