Capturing the Architecture of American Agriculture – and a Passing Way of Life

For 45 years, David Hanks has photographed feed mills in every season and mood. By David HanksPhotographer “Why would anyone want to take pictures of a place like this?” That’s the question I often get when I enter the office of a feed mill or grain elevator, asking permission to make photographs on the property[…]

The 19th-Century Midwest Farmers Movement That Challenged Gilded Age Greed

The Grange was an agricultural brotherhood that sought to foster mutual self-reliance free from monopolies. Perhaps you’ve seen them on a leisurely weekend drive through the countryside—small white structures with the sign “Grange Hall.” Although the Grange is now a mere shadow of its former self, its legacy looms large in American history. As one[…]

Pawns of History: The Poetics of Russian Revolutionary Politics

The repression of political dissent in Czarist Russia led many future revolutionaries to literature as a gateway to political thought. I don’t know about the others, but I was in awe of the tenacity, durability, and fearlessness of human thought, especially that thought within which—or rather, beneath which—there loomed something larger than thought, something primeval[…]

What to Know to Understand the Russian Revolution of 1916-1917

The events that unfolded in Russia from the autumn of 1916 through the autumn of 1917 bent the arc of history in unfathomable ways. Now that the lush and prosperous years had come to Russia, the last thing she needed was war; they should have just said a Requiem Mass for that Archduke Franz Ferdinand,[…]

Medieval Conspiracy Theories: The Lepers’ Plot of 1321

The hysteria quickly spread and local authorities used it as an excuse to attack both Jewish and leper communities. Introduction The 1321 lepers’ plot was an alleged conspiracy of French lepers to spread their disease by contaminating water supplies, including well water, with their powders and poisons.[1] According to the American historian Solomon Grayzel, lepers[…]

Tweet, Tweet: ‘Twitter’ in the Medieval World

Exploring the medieval roots of the now-obsolete meaning of the word ‘Twitter’. Does Twitter have its origins in the medieval period? Well, in a literal sense, no. As far as we are aware, no medieval ships came close to being named BoatyMcBoatFace as a result of a ‘campaign’ of parchment scraps. Medieval people did not[…]

From the First Casino in History to Lessons in Modern Play

Gambling and playing casino games have been a favourite pastime for many people across the globe since time immemorial. From Italy to Egypt, gamers explored an array of games that attracted many fans. In 1638, Venice, Italy saw the introduction of its first brick and mortar or land-based casino, Ridotto. The casino opened doors for[…]