Category Archives: CULTURAL AND SOCIAL HISTORY

The Indians of American Northwest Coast

The Indians of American Northwest Coast


The Northwest coast offers a mild climate with a wide array of food resources. Several distinctive cultures developed on the Northwest Coast from the Columbia River through coastal British Columbia to the top of the Alaskan panhandle. The cultures are very similar in some ways and remarkably diverse in others. People from all regions developed a rich ceremonial and spiritual life. They invested tremendous creative energy in artistic expressions, including songs, dances, legends and spectacular, philosophically powerful art work.

Victorian ladies and gentlemen: The art of etiquette

Victorian ladies and gentlemen: The art of etiquette

It is almost a definition of a gentleman to say he is one who never inflicts pain. This description is both refined and, as far as it goes, accurate. He is mainly occupied in merely removing the obstacles which hinder the free and unembarrassed action of those about him; and he concurs with their movements rather than takes the initiative himself.

Olympics and politics: Not Just a Game Anymore

Olympics and politics: Not Just a Game Anymore

On February 8th this year two events took place in London. In a crown court Harry Redknapp, manager of Tottenham Hotspur, a football club which has not won England’s league title for 51 years, was cleared of tax evasion charges. A few hours later Fabio Capello, England’s Italian football manager, resigned. The speculation (since proved inaccurate) was that Redknapp would succeed Capello.

Tudors at play

Tudors at play

Tudor England worked hard and played hard: “Sometimes their necks are broken, sometimes their backs, sometimes their legs, sometimes their arms” – not a description of some brutal medieval torture, but 16th century football. This sport was hugely popular, especially on occasions such as Shrove Tuesday and Ascension Day when entire villages played each other in ferocious all day encounters, the object being to capture a ball and bring it back to their own village.

The mobster story

The mobster story

The “mob” –often called “the Mafia” –achieved mythic status in America thanks to movies, books, and the FBI. No expert on the mafia, I have in mind a rather simplistic Mafia business model –how it came about, how it grew, how it exploited “niche marketing”. It’s origins are usually traced to mid-nineteenth Century Sicily.