History

Pigs At Work

Jamie Kreiner— When much of the human world was in lockdown this spring, the animal world seemed to come out of its own kind of quarantine. Dolphins had a holiday in the Bosphorus. Mountain goats cruised through Llandudno. Wild boar munched their way through Haifa. These stories were so addictive that they

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Cultural Exchanges and Trans-Atlantic Bonds: African Music and the Evolution of Blues and Jazz

Toyin Falola and Raphael Chijioke Njoku— The subject of Black music and its African cultural roots is arguably one of the most engaging topics in contemporary Africana studies, cultural anthropology, and ethnomusicology. It is compelling because the record of successes attained by Black music artists across the world is one

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An Interview with John Coltrane—May 2, 1961

Ralph J. Gleason— Ralph J. Gleason: I was fascinated by the article that you did in Downbeat last year with Don DeMicheal. I read it again last night and I wanted to ask you, have you gotten back further than Sidney Bechet? John Coltrane: No, I haven’t. Since then I

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The Forgotten History of Inoculation

Gavin Weightman— The huge international effort to develop an effective vaccine against the coronavirus suggests that it is only with the development of modern medicine that an antidote could be found for a deadly virus. Yet the concept of immunization is hundreds, if not thousands, of years old. And its

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The No-So-Last Brahmin: The Legacy of Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. Today

Luke A. Nichter— I do not know when I first heard the name “Henry Cabot Lodge”—either in high school or college. However, I remember my reaction. He was a person with a famous-sounding name, yet I could not place him. Was he the one who was Woodrow Wilson’s nemesis? If

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Medieval Strategy? The Great “Leper Conspiracy” of 1321

Steve Tibble— Researching the development of the crusader states helped me appreciate the sensitive and sophisticated nature of medieval strategy. But it also demonstrated how extraordinarily disappointing human beings could be—and still are, of course. At the end of the crusades, the Templars were suppressed by King Philip the Fair.

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Reflections on Africans in Gothic Sculpture, part 2

Images of Justice and Power Jacqueline E. Jung — In the choir of Magdeburg Cathedral, the black Saint Maurice, carved and painted around 1250, stands with his co-patron Catherine as complementary opposites; together they indicate the plenitude of this Christian ecclesia in both its Militant and Triumphant aspects. (Read more

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Medieval Strategy? Do Fish Need Bicycles?

Steve Tibble— It is easy to see medieval warfare and politics as being long on activity, but chronically short on reflection. To misquote the 1970s feminist rallying cry, it is pretty obvious that hairy, unwashed medieval warriors needed strategy every bit as much as a fish needs a bicycle. Or

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Mapping America’s Recovery

Andrew Imbrie— Imagine a country laid low by foreign wars, ravaged by plague, and weakened by political dysfunction, economic recession, and multiple bankruptcies. Instead of preparing for the future, its leaders engage in fierce disputes over the balance of trade, wage bitter debates over religion and immigration, and stoke tensions

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The Endangered Species of the Polymath

Peter Burke— People are talking more and more about polymaths these days, but at the same time, living examples of this intellectual species are becoming more and more difficult to find. By polymath I mean, like the ancient Greeks who coined the term, someone who has mastered many intellectual disciplines,

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