The Culture of Ancient Rome

One of history’s most influential civilizations took shape, leaving behind a cultural legacy that survives in part today. Introduction The culture of ancient Rome existed throughout the almost 1200-year history of the civilization of Ancient Rome. The term refers to the culture of the Roman Republic, later the Roman Empire, which at its peak covered an area from Lowland Scotland and Morocco to the Euphrates. Life in[…]

How Early Anthropologists Hid African Same-Sex Relationships

Sex between people of the same gender has existed for millennia. But anthropologists in sub-Saharan Africa often ignored or distorted those relationships. By Livia Gershon Sex between people of the same gender has existed in various forms for millennia. But many people, including academics, often ignored or distorted those relationships. The historian Marc Epprecht looked[…]

A History of Art Remaking Society

In modern society, we are used to political art. One hundred years ago today, fighting raged in the streets of Berlin. Kaiser Wilhelm II had abdicated in November 1918, and a new socialist government, led by reform-minded members of the German Socialist Party (SPD), had declared a democratic republic. Thousands of workers and sailors, dissatisfied[…]

The Culture of the Ottoman Empire

The Turks absorbed, adapted and modified the cultures of conquered lands and their peoples. Introduction Ottoman culture evolved over several centuries as the ruling administration of the Turks absorbed, adapted and modified the cultures of conquered lands and their peoples. There was a strong influence from the customs and languages of Islamic societies, notably Arabic, while Persian culture had a significant contribution through[…]

The Roman Dead: New Techniques are Revealing Just How Diverse Roman Britain Was

New research has rubbished perceptions of Roman Britain as a region inhabited solely by white Europeans. Our knowledge about the people who lived in Roman Britain has undergone a sea change over the past decade. New research has rubbished our perception of it as a region inhabited solely by white Europeans. Roman Britain was actually[…]

Historical Processes of Europeanization

The majority of these processes played out over the long-term, but accelerated since the second half of the 18th century. Introduction Processes resulting in the development of a single European culture can be bundled under the term Europeanization. The majority of these processes played out over the long-term, but accelerated since the second half of[…]

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[…]

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[…]

The Politics of Women’s Fashion in the Cultural West

The impact of political and social expectations on women in the Western world. By Dr. Max Barnish, et.al.Research FellowCollege of Medicine and HealthUniversity of Exeter Abstract In this perspective piece, we discuss the politics of fashion in the cultural West. We cover issues of social expectation and individual freedom. We comment on where society draws[…]

From Folklore to Exotica: Yma Sumac and the Performance of Inca Identity

Yma Sumac’s career embodied many of the contradictions that emerge when the international desire to consume exoticism clashes with the realities of traditional or indigenous cultures. The Voice Born high in the Peruvian Andes, a descendant of the last of the Incan Kings, Yma Sumac spent her childhood literally ‘talking’ with the birds, the beasts,[…]

Ritual and Religion in Cultural Anthropology

Not all religions follow the same practices but there are some similarities between most, if not all, religions. Introduction Religion changes across the globe. Different parts of the world have different beliefs and rules that maintain their religion. Not all religions follow the same practices but there are some similarities between most, if not all,[…]

Colonial Exhibitions, ‘Völkerschauen’ and the Display of the ‘Other’

The term ‘Völkerschau’ became common in 19th-century Europe and denoted the exhibition of members of particular ethnic groups, above all for commercial reasons. By Dr. Anne DreesbachPublisher and Historian Abstract The term ‘Völkerschau’ became common in the 19th century and denoted the exhibition of members of particular ethnic groups, above all for commercial reasons. The[…]

The History and Culture of the Kurds

History Kurdish history is deeply intertwined with the geography and the politics of the modern Kurdish regions. Historic Ethnicities of Kurdistan The contiguous Kurdish regions of Iran, Iraq, Turkey, and Syria sit in the north central area of the Middle East. Over the millennia, numerous ethnicities have migrated, settled or natively inhabited the area including Turks, Persians, Arabs, Kurds, Armenians, Assyrians, Chechens, Azeris and others. From the beginning of[…]