Sari drape

Why Saris are Indian Material Culture

Between 1996 and 2003, a folklorist studied the connection between handlooms (technology), sari makers (producers), and sari wearers (consumers) in the ancient city of Banaras.
Actress Maria Callas as Violetta in La Traviata, 1958

Why Verdi Wrote an Opera about Sex Work

Giuseppi Verdi's 1853 opera La Traviata was a shocker when it was first performed. Nineteenth-century audiences didn't expect to watch a sex worker die of tuberculosis at the opera.
Alexander Pushkin

How Alexander Pushkin Was Inspired By His African Heritage

Alexander Pushkin is known as the quintessential Russian writer, but he took particular inspiration from his African great-grandfather, General Abraham Petrovitch Gannibal.
Closeup of a colorful zipper with metal teeth

How WWI Made the Zipper a Success

A money belt with a zipper became an instant success among WWI U.S. sailors, whose uniforms did not have pockets. Almost all initial zipper sales were for the money belts.
Turf Cutters 1869 by Thomas Wade 1828-1891

Peat’s Place in Art

Since the nineteenth century, peat (or turf) has brought social consciousness to art. In the 1800s, Pre-Raphaelite paintings focused on the fact that the poor harvested it.
Karen Blixen

The Writer Behind Out of Africa

For Karen Blixen, the Danish author of "Out of Africa," role, purpose, fate and destiny are intertwined
Kim Jong-hyun

What Exactly is K-Pop, Anyway?

Since the late 90s, K-Pop has been one of South Korea's most important cultural exports. Fans have a deeply emotional attachment to the music.
Jan van Der Heyden painting

Jan van der Heyden and the Dawn of Efficient Street Lights

17th-century Amsterdam was the first city in Europe to have an efficient system of street lighting—thanks to a Golden Age painter called Jan van der Heyden.
Kilts

How Highlanders Came to Wear Kilts

Kilts are traditional garb from Scotland, right? Well, that's not quite the whole story.
Twelfth Night party

Shakespeare, Rembrandt, and the Real “Twelfth Night”

"Twelfth Night" was more than a Shakespeare play; for a very long time it was an extremely popular European winter feast.