George Orwell once wrote, "Every joke is a tiny revolution." In state-socialist societies that had (or have) totalitarian characteristics, individuals found clever ways to carve out areas of freedom for themselves. These may have been areas of social freedom (with family and close friends), physical freedom (at one's small garden cottage), or mental freedom (through humor). There were risks... Read More »
Not uncommonly, revolutionary prints invoked excretory humor directed toward those priests who would not swear allegiance to the Revolution. Revolutionaries eliminated on their enemies; the latter might also receive enemas. Of course, in a world of chamber pots everyone got the message loudly and clearly.
These intricate figurines, made by skilled West African smiths, were measuring instruments central to world flows of capital and commerce through medieval and early modern times.
West Africa was one of the world’s main sources of gold from antiquity onwards. Keeping the location of the region’s gold-fields secret, the great empires of ancient Ghana (6th - 13th century), Mali (c. 1240-... Read More »
Autobiographical writing as a rich source for the exploration of European childhood and youth is self evident; in many cases, it is one of the most nuanced ways to understand historical actors' earliest experiences. Such is the case in Russia, where there emerged a new genre of writing on childhood and youth in the middle of the 19th century. Russian authors tended to paint bucolic portraits... Read More »