Articles on History

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India’s tricolour (which actually has four colours) hides a complex subaltern history that originates with Mahatma Gandhi. Adam Jones/Flickr

Minority histories of the Indian national flag

As India celebrates its independence, the flag is on full display, but few people know about the complex origins of this ubiquitous national symbol.
The Robert E. Lee statue for which the ‘Unite the Right’ rally was organized to protest its removal in Charlottesville, Virginia. EPA/TASOS KATOPODIS

From Charlottesville to Nazi Germany, sometimes monuments have to fall

The violence sparked by the removal of Confederate statues in the US shows the ideas that collect around historical monuments. Sometimes it's better to remove them; yet they can be an important way of remembering trauma.
A 1765 painting of Helios, the personification of the sun in Greek mythology. Wikimedia Commons

How ancient cultures explained eclipses

The sun was worshiped as a deity in many cultures – and witnessing it get extinguished could be a particularly terrifying event.
The Peutinger Table. Reproduction by Conradi Millieri - Ulrich Harsch Bibliotheca Augustana. Wikimedia Commons

Mythbusting Ancient Rome – did all roads actually lead there?

Today the phrase 'all roads leads to Rome' means that there's more than one way to reach the same goal. But in Ancient Rome, all roads really did lead to the eternal city, which was at the centre of a vast road network.
Customers shop during at the AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s Out of the Closet thrift store in Columbus, Ohio. Jay LaPrete/AP

How subversive artists made thrift shopping cool

Over the past 100 years, discarded and secondhand goods have been used by artists to reject mainstream aesthetics.
In the seventeenth century lawyers, civil servants and other new professionals began to work from offices in Amsterdam, London and Paris. British Museum/Flickr

A short history of the office

The history of the office illustrates not only how our work has changed but also how work's physical spaces respond to cultural, technological and social forces.
Celebrity cows: Southern Girl and Iceberg enjoy a ‘hay cocktail’ at the Commodore Hotel in New York. Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center, contact for re-use

Cows in Antarctica? How one expedition milked them for all their worth

What would possess an Antarctic expedition to take dairy cows to the icy continent? Back in 1933, Admiral Byrd did so for reasons of image-making, publicity and territorial ambition.
Confederate General P.G.T. Beauregard is removed from the entrance to City Park in New Orleans. REUTERS/Cheryl Gerber

What to do with Confederate statues?

A scholar of southern politics finds inspiration in an unexpected place.
Back in the 1930s, people like this pear peddler in New York City’s Lower East Side often got their news from labor-led media. AP Photo

The backstory behind the unions that bought a Chicago Sun-Times stake

The newspaper's new owners harken back to a tradition of labor-led media in the early part of the 20th century, which represented a bulwark against corporate power.
Benito Mussolini’s bust and crypt in San Cassiano cemetery are a sensitive topic in Predappio, Italy. Saiko/Wikimedia

Can Italy deal with its fascist past?

Politicians hope that a "museum of fascism" in Benito Mussolini's hometown can help the country face its demons. Historians aren't so sure.

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