Sunday, May 13, 2018

I write what I think is right…take it or leave it: Historian Romila Thapar

As a globally renowned professional historian, she has in recent years been the target of vicious right-wing trolls who are out to spread their own version of history. If it doesn't seem to overly bother her, it is because, unknown to most, Romila Thapar's life has been one lived amidst sustained hate and criticism.

She maintains that arguing a particular position in any discipline is a constitutional mandate as long as she sticks to the given methodology and substantiates her research with enough evidence. 

"But I have been firm on the fact that as an academic historian, I will go on saying what I wish to say, on the basis of my research," she said.

Amelia Earhart bones found in Nikumaroro, claims scientist

A SCIENTIFIC study claims to shed new light on the decades-long mystery of what happened to Amelia Earhart.

According to the New York Post, Richard Jantz, an emeritus anthropology professor at the University of Tennessee, argues that bones discovered on the Pacific Island of Nikumaroro in 1940 were likely Earhart’s remains. The research contradicts a forensic analysis of the remains in 1941 that described the bones as belonging to a male.

The bones, which were subsequently lost, continue to be a source of debate.

Earhart, who was attempting to fly around the world, disappeared with navigator Fred Noonan on July 2, 1937, during a flight from Papua New Guinea to Howland Island in the Pacific.

read more @ New York Post


Sunday, May 6, 2018

Conference at Bryn Mawr Looks at Women Who Lived as Social Outliers

In the summer of 2018, faculty from a number of institutions and disciplines will come together at Bryn Mawr for a week-long research session around the topic of “Women’s Bodies as Sites of Social Navigation: The Cultivation, Display, and Consumption of Female Beauty and Sexuality.”

“Such women might include mistresses, courtesans, prostitutes, movie stars, and pagan mythological and epic characters.”   The session is being held June 4-9.

Obit: Joan Bershas

Obit by Anna Collins published in The Guardian:
Of Russian and European Jewish heritage, Joan developed a strong sense of her identity as European rather than American, and at 18 she left the US to study medieval history at Newcastle University. Thereafter she made her home in the UK, although she only renounced – or “denounced”, as she put it – her American citizenship towards the end of her life.

After two degrees in medieval history, Joan retrained in art and paper conservation, learning from experts in the field and becoming one herself. By the time formal qualifications for conservators had been introduced, Joan had been restoring for years and her high reputation was enough to secure her work.

Joan travelled widely in the course of numerous historic wallpaper conservation projects, including many for the National Trust. A highlight of her career was her involvement in a Royal Geographical Society project in Zanzibar, aimed at conserving British administrative archives, particularly correspondence from and about early explorers.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Obit: Jill, Duchess of Hamilton, journalist and author

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Jill, Duchess of Hamilton, who has died aged 78, was a woman of indomitable energy who left her native Australia as a young reporter for the Murdoch press and ended up marrying Scotland’s premier duke. After her divorce, she distinguished herself as a writer and researcher.

Her best book, Marengo, the Myth of Napoleon’s Horse (2000), uncovered some hitherto unknown facts about Napoleon’s favourite horse and identified, through some impressive detective work, one of its hooves. 

read more here @ Sydney Morning Herald

Welcome to Puntland: Where Men Don't Consider Rape A Crime

From Elle:
Every morning, 28-year-old Officer Shamis Abdi Bile rises before dawn to make breakfast for her husband and three young children.

police officer somalia rape
She bustles around the house, fulfilling the traditional role of homemaker, something that is still expected of Somali women. But once her family has eaten, Bile takes on an unexpected role.

Bile becomes a warrior; almost single-handedly fighting for the prosecution of rape and sexual violence in Puntland, Somalia.

She changes into her khaki police uniform, neatly pressed and spotless, and walks several miles through the dusty streets of Garowe -- the small capital city of Somalia’s vast, barren Puntland state -- to the local police station.

Bile is the only female officer in her unit, and the only woman handling issues of sexual violence in the area.

read more here @ Elle

Saturday, April 14, 2018

10th Century Golden Heart Jewel Worn by Bulgarian Empress Discovered in Medieval Capital Veliki Preslav

A remarkable golden jewel in the shape of a heart decorated with a five-color enamel, which may have belonged to the wife of Tsar Petar I (r. 927-969), has been discovered by archaeologists during excavations in Veliki Preslav (“Great Preslav"), Shumen District, in today’s Northeast Bulgaria,which was the capital of the First Bulgarian Empire (632/680 – 1018) from 893 until 970.

The heart-shaped 23-karat gold jewelhas been found in the ruins of what is believed to have been an imperial residence of the Tsars of the First Bulgarian Empire who ruled from Veliki Preslav.

The dating and the exquisite craftsmanship of the jewel have led the archaeological team to hypothesize that it may have belonged to Tsaritsa (Empiress) Maria Lakapene, a Byzantine noble, who married Tsar Petar I in 927, taking the name Irene (meaning “peace").

This newly discovered over 1,000-year-old golden heart jewel with glass enamel is believed to have belonged to a 10th century Bulgarian Tsaritsa (Empress). Photo: Shum

Siberia salutes British nurse who set up a leper colony in remote Yakutian village

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Kate Marsden travelled with the active support of both Queen Victoria of England and the Tsarina of Russia, Maria Fedorovna. Much later, after her return, her odyssey would be marred by sexual innuendo, yet this unfair accusation from her detractors can in no way obscure her achievements.

In an era of extraordinary adventurers, hers was especially noteworthy in this era both because she was a woman travelling alone, and due to the sheer scale of her undertaking, to reach one of the remotest areas of Yakutia in search of an elusive herbal cure for leprosy.

By the time of her trip, she had already made her mark, and won the hearts of Russians, as a battle-hardened nurse caring for the wounded during the war between Russia and Turkey in 1878. There are accounts of her, then aged 19, stalking the battlefield at night, bringing relief to soldiers felled during the day's fighting. It was at this time that she had her first contact with lepers, and it was to their cause that she devoted her life's work.

Russian nurses, inspired by Marsden, staffed the colony when it was opened and consecrated on 5 December 1892, the year after her visit. It was completed six years after she left. Astonishingly, it survived not only the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917 and the ensuing Civil War, but lasted to the early 1960s, pioneering the extermination of leprosy in Yakutia.

read more here 

Enriqueta Martí - The Vampiress of Barcelona

Enriqueta Martí. Wikipedia/Public Domain
At the beginning of the 20th century, Enriqueta Martí — a woman from the witchcraft-steeped countryside of Cataluña — came to Barcelona. Rather than “The Pearl of the Mediterranean” she saw Barcelona as “The City of Death”. In the evenings she worked as a prostitute, and during the day she begged for charity. She imposed the same schedule to the children on the street who she used as her own while she begged, the same children who she introduced to prostitution.

It is suspected that she kidnapped a large number of children over a span of twenty years. Martí was never tried for her crimes. She died a year and three months after her arrest at the hands of her prison mates.

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