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Race and the White Elephant War of 1884

Adam Green - October 11, 2017 in Adam Forepaugh, circus history, Culture & History, elephants, Featured Articles, history of racist soap adverts, Light of Asia, P.T. Barnum, pears soap, race, racism, racist soap advert, Toung Taloung, white elephants, White Fraud, white supremacy

Feuding impresarios, a white-but-not-white-enough elephant, and racist ads for soap — Ross Bullen on how a bizarre episode in circus history became an unlikely forum for discussing 19th-century theories of race, and inadvertently laid bare the ideological constructions at their heart.

Race and the White Elephant War of 1884

Adam Green - October 11, 2017 in Adam Forepaugh, circus history, Culture & History, elephants, Featured Articles, history of racist soap adverts, Light of Asia, P.T. Barnum, pears soap, race, racism, racist soap advert, Toung Taloung, white elephants, White Fraud, white supremacy

Feuding impresarios, a white-but-not-white-enough elephant, and racist ads for soap — Ross Bullen on how a bizarre episode in circus history became an unlikely forum for discussing 19th-century theories of race, and inadvertently laid bare the ideological constructions at their heart.

Out From Behind This Mask

Adam Green - July 27, 2017 in Art & Illustrations, Culture & History, death, death masks, Featured Articles, laurence hutton, laurence hutton collection, masks, memorial, Philosophy, plaster, punctum, roland barthes, walt whitman

A Barthesian bristle and the curious power of Walt Whitman’s posthumous eyelids — D. Graham Burnett on meditations conjured by a visit to the death masks of the Laurence Hutton Collection.

The Long, Forgotten Walk of David Ingram

Adam Green - June 28, 2017 in american indians, colonialisation, colonialism, Culture & History, david ingram, exploration, first person to cross america, john dee, john hawkins, native americans, privateers, Richard Hakluyt

If three shipwrecked English sailors really did travel by foot from Florida to Newfoundland in 1569 then it would certainly count as one of the most remarkable walks undertaken in recorded history. Although the account's more fantastical elements, such as the sighting of elephants, have spurred many to consign it to the fiction department, John Toohey argues for a second look.

Decoding the Morse: The History of 16th-Century Narcoleptic Walruses

Adam Green - June 14, 2017 in carta marina, conrad gessner, Culture & History, Featured Articles, morse, olaus magnus, Religion, Myth & Legend, walrus

Amongst the assorted curiosities described in Olaus Magnus' 1555 tome on Nordic life was the morse — a hirsuite, fearsome, walrus-like beast, that was said to snooze upon cliffs while hanging by its teeth. Natalie Lawrence explores the career of this chimerical wonder, shaped both by scholarly images of a fabulous north and the grisly corporeality of the trade in walrus skins, teeth, and bone.

Woodcuts and Witches

Adam Green - May 4, 2017 in Art & Illustrations, Books, christianity, crone, Culture & History, demonology, demons, devils, Featured Articles, king james, occult, persecution, printing, printing revolution, Religion, Myth & Legend, sorcery, witchcraft, witches, wizards

Jon Crabb on the witch-craze of Early Modern Europe, and how the concurrent rise of the mass-produced woodcut helped forge the archetype of the broom-riding crone — complete with cauldron and cats — so familiar today.

Woodcuts and Witches

Adam Green - May 4, 2017 in Art & Illustrations, Books, christianity, crone, Culture & History, demonology, demons, devils, Featured Articles, king james, occult, persecution, printing, printing revolution, Religion, Myth & Legend, sorcery, witchcraft, witches, wizards

Jon Crabb on the witch-craze of Early Modern Europe, and how the concurrent rise of the mass-produced woodcut helped forge the archetype of the broom-riding crone — complete with cauldron and cats — so familiar today.

Lofty Only in Sound: Crossed Wires and Community in 19th-Century Dreams

Adam Green - April 5, 2017 in civil war, Culture & History, dream, dreams, Featured Articles, paranormal, poetry, psychology, Science & Medicine, telepathy, us civil war

Alicia Puglionesi on a curious case of supposed dream telepathy at the end of the US Civil War, and the important role dreams played in how a traumatised nation responded to the conflict.

A Queer Taste for Macaroni

Adam Green - February 22, 2017 in Art & Illustrations, beau, captain jones, Culture & History, dandy, dandyism, fop, gay, georgian britain, georgian london, grand tour, homosexuality, homosexuality in the 18th century, london, macaroni, matthew darly, queer culture, sodomy, sodomy trial

With his enormous hair, painted face, and dainty attire, the so-called "macaroni" was a common sight upon the streets and ridiculing prints of 1770s London. Dominic Janes explores how with this new figure — and the scandalous sodomy trials with which the stereotype became entwined — a widespread discussion of same-sex desire first entered the public realm, long before the days of Oscar Wilde.

George Washington: A Descendant of Odin?

Adam Green - February 8, 2017 in Books, Culture & History, family tree, genealogy, george washington, george washington descendants, odin, Religion, Myth & Legend, scandina, vikings, washington descended from, woden

Yvonne Seale on a bizarre and fanciful piece of genealogical scholarship and what it tells us about identity in late 19th-century America.