Culture

The definitions of what is culture may change but the practice of understanding, and unpicking cultural history is an important dimension to understanding any historical period. In this section articles explore the way that definitions of culture have changed and how those changes have affected values and attitudes.  The impact of the written word on fashions and ideas and the role of historic movements such as the renaissance are all addressed in this section.

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  • Podcast Series: The Renaissance

    Multipage Article

    In this podcast Dr Gabriele Neher of the University of Nottingham provides an introduction to the Renaissance.

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  • Puritan attitudes towards plays and pleasure in the Age of Shakespeare

    Article

    In Twelfth Night Shakespeare gently mocked the Puritans, who objected to stage plays and other entertainments. Yet within four decades, the Puritans had closed the London theatres and were about to seize power from Charles I. Among their many reforms were the banning of Christmas celebrations and of Twelfth Night itself....

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  • Podcast: Ancient Greece & Rome - Similarities and Differences

    Multipage Article

    In this podcast Dr Ursula Rothe & Dr Colin Andrews of the Open University discuss how social, moral and religious life in Rome differed from that of ancient Greece.

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  • Podcast: Latin Poets and their Role in Roman Society

    Multipage Article

    In this podcast Dr Joanna Paul & Dr Paula James of the Open University discuss the role and significance of the Latin Poets in Roman society.

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  • Podcast: Ancient Greek Drama

    Multipage Article

    In this podcast Dr Fiona Hobden of the University of Liverpool discusses what Greek tragedy and comedy tell us about the society of Ancient Greece and what has been the legacy of the great writers of this period.

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  • Travel

    Article

    Perhaps I should start by saying what impels me to visit remote places, and that means saying what I'm not. I'm not an anthropologist: I have attempted to read anthropological texts, and confess to finding them amazingly dull when compared with what they're attempting to describe. There are exceptions: Piers...

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  • Historical Fiction: warts and all

    Article

    The perception is that, for historical fiction, this is the best of times. It has never been more popular: witness the 2012 Christmas day schedule-jostling between Downton Abbey and Call the Midwife. It has never been more literary: witness Hilary Mantel winning her second Man Booker prize for Bring Up the...

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  • Food, history and a sense of place?

    Article

    It ought to be possible to match many of the letters of the alphabet to an English place-name and its particular food-stuff. From Bath Buns to Yorkshire Pudding, this puzzle might go, by way of cakes from Eccles and Pontefract. Can you think of other letters of the alphabet and...

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  • Men's Beards and Women's Backsides

    Article

    Since the late Middle Ages periods in which it was fashionable for men to be clean-shaven have alternated in Europe with periods in which it was fashionable for men to wear beards. In some periods clean-shavenness went together with long hair, at others beards went together with short hair, and...

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  • Cartoons and the historian

    Article

    Many historical books contain cartoons, but in most cases these are little more than a relief from the text, and do not make any point of substance which is not made elsewhere. Political cartoons should be regarded as much more than that. They are an important historical source which often...

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  • Protestantism and art in early modern England

    Article

    I am greatly honoured to receive the Medlicott medal and I thank the President for his much-too-kind remarks. It is fifty years since I attended my first meeting of the Historical Association and heard a lecture by Professor Medlicott himself, no less. The Association does a wonderful job in encouraging...

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  • The Wonderful Land of Oz

    Article

    In the year of the centenary of the first publication of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L.Frank Baum, Douglas Horlock considers its political and intellectual context. On 7 May 1898, Frank Baum sat down in his Chicago home with a group of children including his sons. As on other...

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  • William Morris, Art and the Rise of the British Labour Movement

    Article

    Commenting in early 1934 at the University College, Hull, at the time of the centenary of William Morris’ birth and of a large exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum, the historian and active socialist, G.D.H. Cole commented, William Morris’ influence is very much alive today: but let us not...

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  • Podcast: End of the World Cults

    Article

    In this podcast Professor Penelope Corfield looks at the history of 'End of the World Cults'.  1. Why do people at times become urgently convinced that 'the End of the World is Nigh?' HA Members can listen to the full podcast here Short Reading list for End-of-the-World Cults: Two wide-ranging introductions:...

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