Total Military Politics: The Rise of Japanese Fascism

Written by: Jack Bennett. Rising ultranationalism, militarism, and state capitalism under the early reign of the Showa Emperor Hirohito, defined Japanese politics and society as ‘statist’ from the 1920s through to the 1940s. The reverberations of global events and shifting economic and political dynamics during the 1920s and 1930s directly influenced the domestic character of Japan. Continue reading Total Military Politics: The Rise of Japanese Fascism

Homosexuality in Renaissance Florence: The Ambiguities of Neoplatonic Thought

Written by: Jamie Gemmell. Renaissance Italy is popularly portrayed as a realm of carnal debauchery. One only needs to watch Tom Fontana’s Borgia (2011-2014) to understand common conceptions of Renaissance Italy as a realm of brutal acts, orgies, and affairs. Yet, is there any truth to these depictions? Continue reading Homosexuality in Renaissance Florence: The Ambiguities of Neoplatonic Thought

Impending Collapse: Holy War and the Fall of Jerusalem in 1187

Written by: Jack Bennett. October 2, 1187. On the anniversary of Muhammad’s ‘Night Journey’ from Jerusalem to Heaven, Saladin made his triumphant entry into Jerusalem. Following victory at the Battle of Hattin in July, Muslim forces had swept throughout the Crusader States, systematically recapturing Latin Christian settlements, and dismantling the ‘Kingdom of Heaven’. This piece aims to examine the political and military factors behind the Kingdom’s disintegration. Continue reading Impending Collapse: Holy War and the Fall of Jerusalem in 1187

La Llorona: Folklore, Spirits, Colonialism, and Power

Written by: Lewis Twiby. One of the most iconic images of Latin American and Chicano folklore is that of La Llorona – The Weeping Woman. In stories she haunts waterways, weeping and crying ‘Mis hijos’ (My Children), and if you hear her wails, she will drown you. In contemporary Latin American and Chicano society she is used to scare children into behaving – misbehaving children are warned that they will be taken away by La Llorona. Continue reading La Llorona: Folklore, Spirits, Colonialism, and Power

The Woman with Lapis Lazuli in Her Teeth: Exploring the Female Scribes of Medieval Europe

Written by: Tristan Craig. A 2014 analysis of the remains of a woman, exhumed from the burial site adjacent to a former medieval monastery in Dalheim, Germany, found brilliant blue particles embedded in her dental calculus. Raman spectroscopic analysis revealed these pigments to be lapis lazuli: an immensely valuable commodity in the Middle Ages and used only by the most skilled artists in works of the highest order. What made this discovery all the more spectacular is that she dates from around the eleventh to early twelfth century where examples of the expensive mineral, mined only in one region of Afghanistan, are exceptionally rare. Continue reading The Woman with Lapis Lazuli in Her Teeth: Exploring the Female Scribes of Medieval Europe

Magnificent Manipulation: How the Medici Politicised Public Art

Written by: Joshua Al-Najar. In Renaissance Florence, public spaces served as the physical manifestation of the government’s agenda. Often this took the form of art, as regimes sought to disseminate a set of ideals via public works. This communicative discourse could be wrought with problems, as the creation of artworks did not necessarily translate to control over the response. As the Medici galvanised their grip of Florence, their artistic patronage became a key tool in cultivating public support. Continue reading Magnificent Manipulation: How the Medici Politicised Public Art