Articles on History

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Russian President Vladimir Putin has been described as a Byzantine Emperor in style, positioning Russia as the “third Rome.” In western history books, on the other hand, the Bzyantine Empire is all but ignored, pointing as it does to the east. AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, File)

The Byzantine history of Putin’s Russian empire

Russian president Vladimir Putin draws upon the imperial symbols of the Byzantine Empire to position Russia as the "third Rome." Meanwhile, Byzantium is erased by western history books.
Why did this woman, so devoted to her political cause and to her vision of a united France, chose to be burnt at the stake at the age of 19 instead of acquiescing to her judges’ directives?

Essays On Air: Joan of Arc, our one true superhero

Essays On Air: Joan of Arc, our one true superhero. The Conversation22.1 MB (download)
Joan of Arc has been depicted as a national heroine, nationalist symbol, a rebellious heretic and a goodly saint. Forget Wonder Woman and Batman – Jeanne d’Arc may be our one and only true superhero.
Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft and co-chair of the eponymous foundation speaks at Pretoria University, Mamelodi Campus. His foundation is particularly active in the field of health care but also finances numerous institutions dedicated to research. Marco Longari/AFP

What is the influence of American foundations on universities in Africa?

American charitable foundations have gradually established themselves as key players in the African academic sector. If the benefits have been remarkable, there are risks as well.
In ‘Three Wise Girls’ (1932), Cassie (Jean Harlow) has to fend off her handsy boss. Columbia Pictures Corporation

#MeToo on the 1930s silver screen

Scores of Depression-era films depicted a pattern of sexual harassment that sounds all too familiar.
Members of the Iraqi police forces sit outside a building in the city of Fallujah on June 30, 2016 after they’ve recaptured the city from Islamic State (IS) group jihadists. Ahmad al-Rubaye/AFP

How Saddam Hussein’s old ideology may have contributed to the modern Islamic State

Was the early conception of IS a branching-out of the old Baath party? Or was it, as some argue, completely separate with no connection at all? Reality is probably a bit of a mix of both.
Pamphlets for participatory budgeting processes in New York , a system that does back to ancient Greece. Daniel Latorre/Flickr

When citizens set the budget: lessons from ancient Greece

Politicians assume that voters cannot face the financial truth. To democracy experts this is just wrong. Involving voters results in better budgets as shows history from ancient Greece.
Even common knowledge isn’t immune. ledokolua/

Writing’s power to deceive

Reading something that sows doubt about a widely agreed-upon fact – even the election of George Washington as president – can have a profound effect.
One of the paradoxes of wage policy is that ultimately governments are held responsible and blamed for poor results, but governments are but one player in a complex system of wage adjustment. Lukas Coch/AAP

Governments shouldn’t be so hasty in declaring victory on wages policy

History tells us governments do not always get what they wish for, and in fact often perverse outcomes flow from policy choices.
An ex-8th Division prisoner of war is reunited with his family at Ingleburn POW reception camp in New South Wales, November 1945. Ernest McQuillan/Australian War Memorial

Friday essay: ‘It’s not over in the homes’ – impotence, domestic violence and former POWs

Over 20,000 former POWs returned to Australia at the end of the second world war. Archival research sheds light on those who struggled to readjust to life here - and the impact on their wives.

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