Category: Popular Culture

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Slippery Historical Sources: Social Media, Holocaust Memory and Instagram

Instagram has approximately 13,400 photos under the hashtag “#holocaustmuseum”. This might seem arbitrary, but most of these images are the subject of my historical research. Professionally, I have labelled myself in several ways – as a public historian, a Holocaust scholar, and as a historian of social media. All of...

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Let’s Get Physical: Objects and History

Popular works of history have often employed material objects as a lens through which to analyse the past. By attaching significance to objects, artefacts and buildings, historians are able to elicit greater public engagement with the past. The history of people is inextricably bound up with the history of the...

Gandhi Bomberman: Know Your Meme 0

Can Civilization teach us about history?

As a scientist, my interest in history came through video games. Having played the Civilization game series for almost fifteen years, the game was a useful tool for me as a school student. Sid Meier’s Civilization (Civ) is a series of games in which you play as a historical society...

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Proposal: Male control? Definitely not!

This summer in Rio, during the medal ceremony for female 3-metre diving, the Olympic athlete Qin Kai proposed to his teammate and girlfriend He Zi. Watching this, I felt I finally understood the meaning of the word “romance”. Almost the whole world got excited about the romantic proposal, as seen...

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Bearing Witness to the Witness: On Visual Representations of War

Images, in J.T Mitchell’s words, both ‘stand for and act as symptoms of what they signify’. The often betrayed expectation that visual representations of war can change public perceptions illustrates this paradox. Images of conflict take no side but they are capitalized on (for legitimation purposes) by all parties involved....

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Feeling the Cold War

When you think of the Cold War, you probably picture ballistic missiles stationed in Cuba, the legendary ‘red telephone’ linking Washington and Moscow, or possibly the Berlin Wall. However, even during the Cold War, these were metaphors for something much bigger and far removed from most people’s everyday lives and...