This mask worn by boys during initiation rituals in Papua New Guinea is made of painted bark cloth and canvas stretched over a cane frame. The long fiber fringe adds movement to the mask, which is worn during dances and other secret rituals that that comprise boyhood initiation rites. These rituals often involve disguises, as initiates endure trials, receive food and drink from villagers, and... Read More »
In the rioting over prices of February 1793, women appealed first to the authorities, showing that they intended to communicate directly with their representatives in the municipal government of Paris. By explicitly referring to themselves as "citizens," these women publicly claimed their right to be heard.
This 18th century painting by Mohammad Rizā Naw'ī depicts Sati, the practice whereby an elite Hindu widow would commit suicide through self-immolation upon the death of her husband. Sati was featured prominently in European depictions of Hinduism where it reinforced “exotic” stereotypes of South Asians, and was used as an excuse to justify British Imperialism. In reality, the practice was not... Read More »
To those who considered Marat insincere and dangerous in his unrelenting populism, the true martyr was Charlotte Corday, who had come to Paris from Caen—a city then serving as a base for the federalist insurgency—apparently with the express intent of killing Marat. In this engraving by the English caricaturist Cruikshank, Corday is depicted as "A Second Joan of Arc," saving her country by... Read More »
The English writer Mary Wollstonecraft (1759–97) argued against both Burke and Rousseau, defending the notion of natural rights, particularly rights for women, such as equal education. She insisted that women could not become virtuous, even as mothers, unless they won the right to participate in economic and political life on an equal basis with men. Although she did not specifically demand... Read More »
This grievance was signed by a certain Madame B*** B*** whose identity is unknown. The provenance appears to be Normandy. Another version of this text, located and republished in the late nineteenth century, is signed by Marie, veuve de Vuigneras, also from Normandy. According to contextual evidence, this document followed the convocation of the Estates–General and the call for the collection... Read More »
Unfortunately the only first-hand account of the meetings of the women’s club comes from notes taken by Pierre–Joseph–Alexis Roussel, published in a volume of memoirs in 1802. His account makes fun of the women’s club for discussing the virtues of women as warriors and administrators. Some of the details, however, are accurate and give credibility to the overall account. The club did decide to... Read More »