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“A Jewish Palestine”  

Henry Sacher

In this excerpt from an article in The Atlantic Monthly (July 1919), the British Zionist Harry Sacher (1882–1971) explains to an American audience why the issue of a Jewish homeland is such ... More

“A Procession of Artisans at Istanbul”  

Evliya Çelebi

Born on the Golden Horn and raised in the Sultan’s palace in Istanbul, Çelebi traveled throughout Ottoman domains between 1640 and 1680. He published an account of his travels and ... More

Abd al-Rahman al-Saadi on the Scholars of Timbuktu  

Abd al-Rahman al-Saadi

Born in Timbuktu in 1596, Abd al-Rahman al-Saadi wrote, in Arabic, a chronicle entitled Tarikh al-Sudan (History of the Sudan). The document addresses the political, cultural, and religious ... More

Account of the Rus  

Ibn Fadlan

Ibn Fadlan was a tenth-century Arab chronicler. In 921 C.E., the Caliph of Baghdad sent Ibn Fadlan on an embassy to the King of the Bulgars of the Middle Volga (present-day Russia). Ibn ... More

Addresses to the German Nation  

Johann Gottlieb Fichte

The beginnings of German national identity were not political but rather cultural. Already in the eighteenth century, Germans had begun to react against the intellectual domination of the ... More

Against Nature (A rebours)  

Joris-Karl Huysmans

Huysmans (1848–1907) was a French novelist and art critic and one of the early supporters of Impressionism. While he supported himself financially as a member of France’s civil service, ... More

The Alchemy Of Happiness  

Abd al-Hamid, al-Ghazali

Born in 1058 to a family of spinners and sellers of wool in a small village in eastern Iran, Ghazali became one of the most prominent expounders of Islamic theology of his day. Traveling ... More

Amulet containing passages from the Qur’an, worn by Muslim slaves who rioted in Bahia, Brazil  

João José Reis

Although slavery was not abolished in Brazil until 1888, slave revolts were frequent and remarkable for their ambitions, success, and diversity of participating elements. Two urban revolts ... More

Ancestor Worship and Human Sacrifice from the Shi Jing  

Anonymous

During both the Shang and Zhou dynasties (1556-1046 BCE; 1046-256 BCE) families, both noble and common, worshipped and sacrificed to their ancestors. These sacrifices were of the utmost ... More

Anonymous, Edicts of Aurangzeb  

Anonymous

When he became emperor in 1658, Aurangzeb attempted a radical “Islamification” of Mughal India, imposing a strict interpretation of Sharia law and implementing reforms that he thought would ... More

An Arab Merchant Visits TAng China  

Ibn Wahab

Ibn Wahab was an Arab merchant from Basra (Iraq) who sailed to China via the Indian Ocean around 872 CE. His travel account includes a description of his interview with the Chinese emperor. ... More

“At the Feet of the Village Elders”  

Oginga Odinga

The attitudes of British colonial authorities towards their subjects are reflected in Oginga Odinga’s memories of his childhood in a Kenyan village. The British government took over Kenya ... More

The Azamgarh Proclamation  

Firoz Shah

This proclamation was published in the Delhi Gazette in the midst of the “Great Mutiny” of 1857. The author was most probably Firoz Shah, a grandson of the Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar ... More

Bad Hair Days in the Paleolithic  

Judith C. Berman

In this somewhat lighthearted essay, anthropologist Judith Berman takes on the stereotype of the wild looking, unkempt “cave man” popularized in cartoons, movies, television shows, etc. ... More

Bamiyan Buddhas, Afghanistan  

Anonymous

A few months before the 9/11 terrorist attacks, in the spring of 2001, Taliban officials oversaw a series of explosions in the Bamiyan Valley, which deliberately detonated priceless ... More

“Black Consciousness and the Quest for a True Humanity”  

Steve Biko

Born in 1946 in South Africa, in the Eastern Cape, Steve Biko engaged in political activism at a very early age, which ultimately caused his permanent expulsion from public schooling. ... More

The Book of Prophecies  

Christopher Columbus

Although he is more famous for his voyages—and for the richly detailed accounts he made of them—Columbus (1451–1506) also composed a book of prophetic revelations toward the end of his ... More

A Boxer Rebel and a British Family Killed during the Boxer Rebellion  

Anonymous

A new wave of antiforeign sentiment in China, triggered by a “race for concessions” among the Western powers in the late 1890s, was increasingly centered on a group called the Society of ... More

Casta Paintings, Mexico  

Anonymous

Some of the most remarkable visual records of colonial Mexico are the series of paintings called “caste” paintings, illustrating every racial combination of Spanish, mestizo, black, Native ... More

China in the Sixteenth Century  

Matteo Ricci

When European Christian missionaries first came to Ming China, they made very little progress in converting the Chinese, in large part due to their limited training in Chinese language and ... More

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