From a 1964 stamp from Tanzania

Tanzania in the Cold War Crucible

After the US-Belgian assassination of the Congo’s first Prime Minister, leaders in Tanganyika and Zanzibar worried they would be given the same treatment.
Statue of Ostap Bender, Elista, Russia

The Red Sting: Conmen in the USSR

The Soviets loved a good confidence game, as was made evident by the popularity of the fictional character of Ostap Bender after Russian Revolution.
From The Tertiary insects of North America, 1890

Historical Bugs: Archaeoentomology

The remains of ancient insects reveal new information about Paleo-Eskimo life and the history of the Norse in Greenland, Iceland, and the Faroe Islands.
Adam Smith

Adam Smith, Revolutionary?

By 1800, Smith—once considered a friend of the poor and an enemy of the privileges of the rich—was already being refashioned into a icon of conservatism.
seaweed on a spoon

Eating Seaweed in the Americas

From the kelp highway to blue plate kelp specials, seaweeds are gaining greater acceptance on the dining tables in the Americas.
From a poster by Henry Van de Velde for a food supplement, 1898

Art Nouveau: Art of Darkness

First named such in Belgium, Art Nouveau was intimately tied up with that country’s brutal rule of the Congo.
From the cover of the NYRB edition of Arabesques

Arabic Hebrew, Hebrew Arabic: The Work of Anton Shammas

Within the alienated and antagonist cultures inside Israel’s borders, Arabic and Hebrew—related, but mutually unintelligible languages—cross-fertilize each other.
Idealized Portrait of a Woman (allegedly Simonetta Vespucci) by Sandro Botticelli

The Renaissance Lets Its Hair Down

The notion that everybody was going to be hairless in Heaven may not have sat well with Italian Renaissance painter Sandro Botticelli.
Edward John Eyre

When Intellectuals Split: The Eyre Case

Public intellectuals in Great Britain disagreed on what to do with Governor Eyre after his heavy-handed response to the 1865 Morant Bay Rebellion in Jamaica.
Sandy Hook Lighthouse

To the Lighthouses: A Path to Nationhood

Instilling confidence among merchants and ship captains was an area in which most agreed the new federal authority could and should act.