The Emotional Lives of Animals

Grief, friendship, gratitude, wonder, and other things we animals experience. Scientific research shows that many animals are very intelligent and have sensory and motor abilities that dwarf ours. Dogs are able to detect diseases such as cancer and diabetes and warn humans of impending heart attacks and strokes. Elephants, whales, hippopotamuses, giraffes, and alligators use[…]

A History of Thinking with Animals

Animals have always been central to human culture, as cave paintings around the world attest. In more recent times, they have also been used to reflect on what it is that defines us as human. Animals, as the anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss suggested, are ‘good to think with’. (Totemism, 1964). From the earliest human societies, they[…]

A Brief History of Animals in Early Modern and Modern Children’s Literature

Books had the practical aim of helping children to learn to read, count, and understand the world around them. Stories about animals have always been a staple of children’s literature. At first, such books were not particularly concerned with entertainment, but had the practical aim of helping children to learn to read, count and understand[…]

Animals in Thai Manuscript Art

Examining the role of animals in Thai manuscript art. Illustrations of real and mythical animals play an important role in Thai manuscript art, especially in Buddhist folding books and in animal treatises, but also in manuscripts related to astrology, divination and fortune telling. The belief that certain animals have super-natural powers is well reflected through[…]

Animals as Historical Actors

Animals are history-shaping actors in many fields of historical research. Introduction Animals have become an important topic in German-language historiography. Following a brief review of the research as a whole, this article will introduce the specific aspects of agency, space and practice (praxeology). While there are struggles over theoretical positions in animal history, the sources[…]

Behind the Rocket Cat: Animals in Warfare from Hannibal to World War One

War animals have been with us for a very long time. There’s a good chance you’ve come across the bewhiskered warrior above on the web: it’s been featured on the Guardian and ABC News. And for good reason: the image is the best combination of cats and history since those inky pawprints on the medieval manuscript. The so-called “rocket[…]

What Primary School Children Can Teach Academic Philosophers

Department for Communities/flickr/Creative Commons By Dr. Peter Worley / 03.03.2016 CEO, The Philosophy Foundation President, SOPHIA Visiting Research Associate, King’s College London ‘Would anyone like to travel through time?’ I ask my audience. More than half raise their hands. Using a random-selection app on my phone I pick a ‘time traveller’. I explain that she[…]

A History of Mindfulness

Buddhist Man Meditating / Photo by Jakub Michankow, Wikimedia Commons ‘Mindfulness’ has become a household word, standing for inner peace, wellbeing, and cutting-edge healthcare. For four years, I researched how it’s become such a compelling force in Western culture. By Dr. Matt Drage / 02.22.2018 Researcher in Mindfulness and Meditation as Biomedical Inrtervention Introduction “Well I think[…]

On the Death—and Life—of Florence Nightingale

Examining the death, and the life, of Florence Nightingale, the great nursing heroine of the Crimean War. Abstract This essay examines the death, and the life, of Florence Nightingale, the great nursing heroine of the Crimean War. An eminent Victorian, Nightingale passed away at the ripe old age of ninety in 1910, at a time[…]

Clara Barton and the Origins of the Red Cross

Staring at bloodied soldiers in a train station one fateful April day, Clara Barton rolled up her sleeves and got to work. On April 19, 1861, “indignant, excited, alarmed and scarcely knowing where she went,” Clara Barton followed the crowds on the streets of Washington City to the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Depot, “where she[…]

The Tokugawa Shogunate: Autocratic Rule in Early Modern Japan

After the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600, central authority fell to Tokugawa Ieyasu, and the Shogunate began. Introduction The Tokugawa Shogunate, also known as the Tokugawa Bakufu (徳川幕府) and the Edo Bakufu (江戸幕府), was the last feudal Japanese military government, which existed between 1603 and 1867.[3] The head of government was the shōgun,[4] and each was a member of the Tokugawa clan.[5] The Tokugawa shogunate ruled from Edo[…]

The Rise and Growth of Ancient Japan

The Japanese call their country Nippon, which means origin of the sun. Introduction There are four major islands and thousands of small ones in the Japanese archipelago(/ar*kuh*peh*luh*goh/). The largest island is Honshu (/hahn*shoo/), the home of the capital city of Tokyo (/toh*kee*oh/),Kyoto (/kee*yoh*toh/), and other great cities. To the south lie the major islands of Shikoku (/shih*koh*koo/) and[…]

Eclipsing the Occult in Early America: Benjamin Franklin and His Almanacs

Franklin advanced a scientific – not supernatural – understanding of astronomical events such as eclipses. His satirical character ‘Poor Richard’ mocked those who bought into astrological predictions. By the time he was 20 years old, colonial American Benjamin Franklin had already spent two years working as a printer in London. He returned to Philadelphia in[…]

Seeing the Invisible: A Short History of the Scientific Evidence of Dark Matter

About 85% of all matter in the universe consists of a mysterious, invisible, and as-of-yet unidentified substance dubbed “dark matter.” Everything you have ever touched, seen, or tasted; the air you breathe; the ground on which you stand; and the constituents of your body all consist of a type of matter that is only a[…]

The Origins of Modern Dogs in Ancient Asian Wolves

You’ve come a long way, baby. moggafogga, CC BY-NC-ND The how and the when of dog domestication are fairly settled. As for the where: now DNAsays Fido traces his roots back to wolves in Central Asia that lingered around people’s camps millennia ago. By Dr. Laura Shannon / 10.20.2015 Computational Evolutionary Geneticist Adam Boyko Laboratory Cornell University Dogs’ origin story goes something like[…]

Earliest Evidence of Cat Domestication Found in China

So, you found my ancestors? Are you sure this time? epsos There has been much debate about how cats went from hunting in the wild to a much-loved pet. By Akshat Rathi / 12.16.2013 Former Science and Data Editor The Conversation There has been much debate about how cats went from hunting in the wild to a much-loved pet. That is because[…]

How We Discovered That Europeans Used Cattle 8,000 Years Ago

The use of animals for their renewable products greatly increased human capabilities in prehistory. The use of animals for their renewable products greatly increased human capabilities in prehistory. Secondary products – or anything that can be gleaned from a domestic animal repeatedly over its lifetime – expanded the capabilities of ancient human societies. They helped[…]

Baltic Hunter-Gatherer Adoption of Agriculture

Ancient DNA analyses show that – unlike elsewhere in Europe – farmers from the Near East did not overtake hunter-gatherer populations in the Baltic. The findings also suggest that the Balto-Slavic branch of the Indo-European language family originated in the Steppe grasslands of the East. New research indicates that Baltic hunter-gatherers were not swamped by[…]

Safavid Trade during the 17th Century: Iran’s Transit Economy

Analyzing the role that the Safavid economy played within the rapidly developing global economic system. By Connor J. HamelCompetitive Intelligence AnalystAccenture Federal Services Introduction The seventeenth century ushered in a plethora of changes in global trade patterns. These fluctuating trade patterns began to generate nascent economic, political, and social trends the likes of which had[…]

The Safavid Empire, 1501-1736

The empire established Shi’a Islam as Iran’s official religion and united its provinces under a single Iranian sovereignty in the early modern period. Introduction The Safavids (Persian: صفویان) were a native Iranian dynasty from Azarbaijan that ruled from 1501 to 1736, and which established Shi’a Islam as Iran’s official religion and united its provinces under a single Iranian sovereignty in the[…]

The Style and Regional Differences of Seljuk Persian Minarets

Seljuk art and architecture is a fusion of Persian, Islamic, and Central Asian (Turkic) elements. By Dr. Fatema AlSulaitiExpert in Islamic Archaeology Under the Seljuk rule, Persia gained a period of economic and cultural prosperity. The innovative techniques of the Seljuk period and style in architecture and the arts had a strong influence on later[…]

Kahina: Early Medieval Berber Warrior-Queen Standing against Arab Invasion

Kahina’s life is only known through later Arab historians writing on the Muslim conquest of Africa. Introduction Kahina (7th century CE) was a Berber (Imazighen) warrior-queen and seer who led her people against the Arab Invasion of North Africa in the 7th century CE. She is also known as al-Kahina, Dihya al-Kahina, Dahlia, Daya, and Dahia-al-Kahina. Her birth[…]

The Salt Mine Mummies of Ancient Iran

The “Saltmen of Zanjan” were preserved by a very rare form of natural mummification which had occurred in a salt mine. By Haleh BrooksArchaeologist As a young girl interested in archaeology and history, mummies always intrigued me. From the intricate Egyptian mummies to the naturally and beautifully preserved mummies of the Incas, they seemed to me to be beautiful[…]

From Mummification to ‘Sky Burials’: Why We Need Death Rituals

Death rituals help us to cope with loss and perhaps even feelings of guilt associated with disposing of a corpse. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Few liturgical phrases from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer are so familiar to so many, even those who have never darkened the doors of a church. This part of the[…]

Completing the Work of the Framers: Lincoln’s Constitutional Legacy

Lincoln deserves far more credit than he has received as an architect of American constitutional law. Introduction When we think of the architects of our constitutional order, we naturally think of the Founding Fathers. In particular, we think of James Madison, the “father of the Constitution.” Madison and his colleagues at the Philadelphia Convention drafted[…]

The Election of 1864 and the Importance of Founding Intent

The founders were an essential political and cultural touchstone in the election of 1864. “Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”[1] While it might be somewhat trite to begin an article on the[…]

‘King Andrew I’: Andrew Jackson’s Power-Hungry Self-Styling as Louis XIV

He claimed that he embodied the people in the same way that Louis XIV believed that he was France. Jackson’s defeat of incumbent John Quincy Adams in the 1828 election was the first great US political upset in which an anti-establishment candidate defeated an insider. Jackson styled himself as a champion of the “common man,”[…]

The Complexity of Thomas Jefferson – Or Not-So-Much

Jeffersonian scholarship is not a fool’s errand, but it is extremely arduous. Merrill Peterson, the preeminent Jeffersonian scholar, writes in his watershed work, The Jefferson Image in the American Mind, “Jefferson was a baffling series of contradictions.” Albert Ellis in American Sphinxstates magisterially that Jefferson’s “multiple personalities” are much like “the artful disguises of a confidence man.” Peter[…]

Serenading the President: John Adams, the XYZ Affair, and the 18th-Century American Presidency

Sentiment began to change in earnest in the wake of the decision to publicize the XYZ dispatches during the spring of 1798. Behold the chief who now commands,Once more to serve his country stands.The rock on which the storm will beat,But arm’d in virtue, firm, and true,His hopes are fix’d on Heav’n and you. Joseph[…]