The Black Death was the first and most lethal outbreak of a disease that entered Italy during the end of 1347 and the beginning of 1348 and then spread across Europe in the following few years. It is generally accepted (despite recent arguments to the contrary) that this most famous medieval epidemic was caused by bubonic plague. This disease, which was identified in the late 19th century, is... Read More »
An exploration of primary sources on childhood in late imperial China (framed broadly as the Song through Qing dynasties, ca. 960-1911 CE) offers a window into lived experience and the diverse ways in which childhood itself could be imagined and articulated. As with other times and places, the historical record presents a variety of perspectives and different takes on childhood, providing a... Read More »
In western law, the age of consent is the age at which an individual is treated as capable of consenting to sexual activity. Consequently, any one who has sex with an underage individual, regardless of the circumstances, is guilty of a crime. Narrowly concerned with sexual violence, and with girls, originally, since the 19th century the age of consent has occupied a central place in debates... Read More »
Global trade is a central aspect of the contemporary world, but trade was also important in pre-modern eras. The most important trading network in the period from the tenth through the fifteenth centuries was that across Eurasia, both land routes and sea routes, especially those across and around the Indian Ocean. Ships carried merchants and many types of products, and also carried religious... Read More »
From its inception in the early 7th century up to the present day, women have played a vital role in shaping Islamic history. However, their voices have often been left out of standard historical narratives, silenced by a lack of primary sources as well as an assumed belief by male historians that they were not part of the development of Islamic civilizations. Looking past this bias, scholars... Read More »
Japanese cultural history is rather unique because it includes writings by women from the Heian Era (794-1185 CE) among its earliest works of important literature. During this era, Japan saw the creative assimilation of Chinese influences and the flowering of a distinctly native literature and culture. This native literature, to which women made the major contribution, became Japan’s classical... Read More »
How do you study the history of young people? What can primary source documents reveal? What limitations do they pose? What light can the history of young people shed on the past? This essay aims to serve as a guide to finding, interpreting or “reading” primary sources on young people from ancient civilizations to the present.
This panel painting represents an innovation in the history of western European painting and a moment in religious iconography: depiction of the Virgin Mary and the infant Jesus in Byzantine icons was traditionally symbolic. In the past, the figures were not humanized, but represented the qualities of divine beings and episodes in sacred history. This painting from the late 13th century by... Read More »