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History


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Anthropology Cities Demography & Migration Economics Education Fairness & Equality Gender History Human Rights Law & Justice Nature & Environment Politics & Government Poverty & Development Progress & Modernity Race Religion The Future War & Conflict Work
Essay/Cultures & Languages
English is not normal

No, English isn’t uniquely vibrant or mighty or adaptable. But it really is weirder than pretty much every other language

John McWhorter

Essay/Family Life
Lock up your wives!

Advice columns from decades past provide a chilling glimpse into the horrors of marriage counselling before feminism

Rebecca Onion

Essay/Cultures & Languages
The invasion of America

The story of Native American dispossession is too easily swept aside, but new visualisations should make it unforgettable

Claudio Saunt

Essay/Cities
Return of the city-state

Nation-states came late to history, and there’s plenty of evidence to suggest they won’t make it to the end of the century

Jamie Bartlett

Essay/History
Slaves or wage slaves

Incentives, rewards, bonuses and bonding experiences – Roman slaveowners were the first management theorists

Jerry Toner

Essay/History
How Europe became so rich

In a time of great powers and empires, just one region of the world experienced extraordinary economic growth. How?

Joel Mokyr

Essay/War & Conflict
The legend of the Legion

His cap is bleached as white as the bones of a Saharan camel. Is the romance of the French Foreign Legion a cult of death?

Robert Twigger

Essay/Religion
Christians were strangers

How an obscure oriental cult in a corner of Roman Palestine grew to become the dominant religion of the Western world

Michael Kulikowski

Essay/Economics
Return of the oppressed

From the Roman Empire to our own Gilded Age, inequality moves in cycles. The future looks like a rough ride

Peter Turchin

Essay/History
Do civilisations collapse?

The idea that the Maya or Easter Islanders experienced an apocalyptic end makes for good television but bad archaeology

Guy D Middleton

Essay/Gender & Sexuality
A handy history

Condemned, celebrated, shunned: masturbation has long been an uncomfortable fact of life. Why?

Barry Reay

Essay/Beauty & Aesthetics
The sea was never blue

The Greek colour experience was made of movement and shimmer. Can we ever glimpse what they saw when gazing out to sea?

Maria Michela Sassi

Essay/Stories & Literature
Bookish fools

The book has always been a sign of status and refinement; a declaration of self-worth – even for those who hate to read

Frank Furedi

Essay/Childhood & Adolescence
The end of adolescence

In the 20th century it offered a bridge from the innocence of childhood to the responsibilities of adult life. Not any more

Paula S Fass

Essay/Political Philosophy
Theory from the ruins

The Frankfurt school argued that reason is dangerous, mass culture deadening, and the Enlightenment a disaster. Were they right?

Stuart Walton

Essay/History
Medieval graffiti

Graffiti on the walls of Europe’s old churches reveals the real Middle Ages – a world far removed from knights and damsels

Matthew Champion

Essay/History
Drugs du jour

LSD in the ’60s; ecstasy in the ’80s; ‘smart’ drugs today: how we get high reflects the desires and fears of our times

Cody Delistraty

Essay/Gender
Man, weeping

History is full of sorrowful knights, sobbing monks and weeping lovers – what happened to the noble art of the manly cry?

Sandra Newman

Essay/Automation & Robotics
Preternatural machines

Robots came to Europe before the dawn of the mechanical age. To a medieval world, they were indistinguishable from magic

E R Truitt

Essay/History
The Masada mystery

Have archaeologists proven the ancient tale of mass suicide in the Judaean desert or twisted science for political end?

Eric H Cline

Essay/Stories & Literature
The real Casanova

His name is synonymous with serial seduction but Casanova's memoirs reveal a man greater than the sum of his ‘conquests’

Laurence Bergreen