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Society

Essays and videos on social issues, history, political life and the future
Hitozukuri | Aeon
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Education

Hitozukuri

Japan’s Cold War education policy used religion to ‘make’ the ideal humans needed by its nascent economy. Did it work?

Jolyon Baraka Thomas

The other Cleopatra | Aeon
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The ancient world

The other Cleopatra

Daughter of Cleopatra and Mark Antony, she became the influential queen of a mysterious, abundant North African kingdom

Jane Draycott

It never existed | Aeon
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Global history

It never existed

The idea of a ‘precolonial’ Africa is theoretically vacuous, racist and plain wrong about the continent’s actual history

Olúfẹ́mi Táíwò

Wanderlust of the ancients | Aeon
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The ancient world

Wanderlust of the ancients

The Roman Empire enabled an early version of globalisation that offered travellers adventure, novelty and opportunity

Fabio Fernandes

An unholy alliance | Aeon
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Politics and government

An unholy alliance

Authoritarian leaders who play the religious card are not mere hypocrites. There’s something far more troubling going on

Suzanne Schneider

Collective wrongs | Aeon
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Ethics

Collective wrongs

Even when individual perpetrators and victims are dead, states and institutions have a responsibility to make restitutions

Joshua Stein

The Calvinist conquest | Aeon
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Religion

The Calvinist conquest

In the 17th century, Dutch proselytisers set out for Asia, Africa and the Americas. The legacy of their travels endures

Charles H Parker

Black King of Songs | Aeon
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Global history

Black King of Songs

His communism brought the great American singer Paul Robeson trouble in the US, but helped make him a hero in China

Gao Yunxiang

The discontent of Russia | Aeon
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Nations and empires

The discontent of Russia

Lenin envisioned Soviet unity. Stalin called Russia ‘first among equals’. Yet Russian nationalism never went away

Joy Neumeyer

Our trip to Antioch | Aeon
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The ancient world

Our trip to Antioch

Ancient Romans bought mementos to commemorate their travels. These speak eloquently of their world, if we care to listen

Maggie Popkin

Golden jubilee | Aeon
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Human rights and justice

Portugal stole Goa’s lands and narratives. Can they ever truly be returned?

19 minutes

With respect and friendship | Aeon
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Global history

With respect and friendship

For a century before the rise of European empires, Britons and North Africans lived together in amicable peace

Nat Cutter

The problem with ‘han’ 한 恨 | Aeon
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Film and visual culture

The problem with ‘han’ 한 恨

Korean culture is characterised by an untranslatably profound sorrow and regret. Or is that just another stereotype?

Minsoo Kang

Tales of two jackals | Aeon
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Stories and literature

Tales of two jackals

Kalila and Dimna’s ancient parables on power delight as much as they instruct. But their moral maxims are ethically murky

Kevin Blankinship

The power of water | Aeon
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Global history

The power of water

Far more potent than oil or gold, water is a stream of geopolitical force that runs deep, feeding crops and building nations

Giulio Boccaletti

Those born later | Aeon
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History

Those born later

How does a nation begin to take responsibility for its past wrongs? The German case suggests courage comes locally

Helmut Walser Smith

The chocolate route | Aeon
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Food and drink

The chocolate route

The humble cocoa bean’s journey from its Amerindian origins to worldwide dominance is a lesson in the power of trade

Irene Fattacciu

Inka khipu | Aeon
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History of technology

Reading the strings and knots that keep the secrets of the Inka Empire

9 minutes

Unearthing David’s city | Aeon
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Archaeology

Unearthing David’s city

Archaeologist Eilat Mazar dug with a spade in one hand and a Bible in the other. Should her theories be taken seriously?

Andrew Lawler

East of Zionism | Aeon
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Nations and empires

East of Zionism

In 1900 my grandfather’s generation imagined a modernising Arab world, multireligious and progressive. What happened?

Ussama Makdisi

Decolonising the cosmos | Aeon
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Space exploration

Decolonising the cosmos

Instead of treating Mars and the Moon as sites of conquest and settlement, we need a radical new ethics of space exploration

Ramin Skibba

This is no love story | Aeon
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Stories and literature

This is no love story

Strange entanglements of politics and romantic love marked England’s conquest of Ireland and still haunt the Irish today

Alison Garden

The emancipated Empire | Aeon
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Nations and empires

The emancipated Empire

The British Empire was first built on slavery and then on the moral and economic self-confidence of antislavery

Padraic Scanlan

Being Persian | Aeon
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Nations and empires

Being Persian

To be Persian before nationalism was to belong to a generous, plural identity woven through language, kin and manners

Mana Kia