This selection comes from the autobiography of Bahina Bai (1628-1700), a Hindu poetess. Most of what we know about Bahina comes from her own writings, where she tells her life story. Born into a family of the Brahmin—or priestly—caste, she was married at the age of five to a widowed thirty-year-old priest, in keeping with the practices of the time. From the age of nine, Bahina traveled... Read More »
Born in Ireland, Edmund Burke (1729–97) immediately opposed the French Revolution, warning his countrymen against the dangerous abstractions of the French. He argued the case for tradition, continuity, and gradual reform based on practical experience.
In the immediate aftermath of independence, post-colonial governments in the Middle East prioritized education as a cornerstone for economic growth. This included revamping the curriculum, turning classrooms, in many instances, into battlegrounds in political and ideological fights. When Algeria obtained its independence from France in 1962, for example, after 132 years of colonization,... Read More »
At the conclusion of her trial, the Queen was found guilty and sentenced to death. The newspaper of record, the Moniteur, reports the Queen’s response to the verdict and her execution the next morning with a good deal of sympathy and respect.
If they wanted to keep out spies, security personnel on both sides of the Berlin Wall had to become sophisticated readers of facial features. This manual, prepared by the East German border police as a training text for their front line guards, shows the reader how to recognize someone from telling facial features. Notice how the reader is directed to pay attention not to the entire face, but... Read More »
One of the most widely–read authors of the late nineteenth century, Anatole France (1844–1924) saw the humanity of even the most notorious revolutionary figures such as Jean–Paul Marat. Yet, dedicated to the principles of 1789, France preferred the earlier period of the Revolution. Consequently, his treatment of the National Convention is somewhat ironic despite his general support for the... Read More »
De Staël was the daughter of Jacques Necker, Louis XVI’s Swiss Protestant finance minister. She published novels, literary tracts, and memoirs and became one of the best-known writers of the early nineteenth century. Napoleon exiled her in 1803. In the following excerpts, she describes her first meetings with him in 1797 and her judgment of the man.
This source is a part of the... Read More »
At the turn of the 20th century, Tehran published magazines intended to reshape social practices, to "civilize" and "modernize" the nation. Many magazines addressed the education of girls, contending that uneducated mothers resulted in uneducated children and hence a nation that could not advance.
These calls for reform of girls' education came at a time when many countries in the... Read More »