Arms and the man: how a culture of warfare shapes masculinity

31 Mar 2016

The trappings of violence were embedded into the culture of 16th century Europe. Victoria Bartels, a PhD candidate in the Faculty of History, has conducted research in a Florentine archive to show how, even at a time when the bearing of arms was prohibited, men negotiated ways to sport their daggers and swords in public.

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‘Traditional authority’ linked to rates of deforestation in Africa

24 Nov 2015

New analysis reveals a strong correlation between precolonial institutions in Africa and current levels of deforestation. Researchers suggest that many of these structures still operate at a local level, controlling and exploiting natural resources under the radar of the state, and that such legacies of governance pose a major challenge for implementing conservation policies. 

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Y is for Yak

18 Nov 2015

The Cambridge Animal Alphabet series celebrates Cambridge’s connections with animals through literature, art, science and society. Here, Y is for Yak: an animal that is an integral part of high-altitude livelihoods throughout the Himalayas, Tibet and Central Asia.

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How we fell in love with shopping

20 Mar 2015

An exhibition of ‘treasured possessions’ from the 15th to the 18th centuries reveals how we first fell in love with shopping, and takes us back to an age when our belongings were made by hand and passed down through the generations.

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Mongolia: unravelling the troubled narratives of a nation

27 Feb 2015

In two separate books, anthropologists Dr Franck Billé and Dr Christopher Kaplonski look at the identity of Mongolia, a country that stands at a cultural and political crossroads.  While Billé explores Mongolia’s relationship with its powerful neighbours, Kaplonski revisits a dark period in the country’s recent history.

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Stirbitch: mapping the unmappable

16 Jan 2015

Dr Michael Hrebeniak describes himself as inveterately curious about people and places. His fascination for a messy patch of Cambridge, best known for its traffic jams and retail park, has led him to create with words and film ‘a deep map’ of the layers of human experience on the fringes of the city. 

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A Book of Strange and Wonderful Tales and its Eminent Translator

20 Dec 2014

Crocodiles have pearls in their ears; statues move and speak. The first English translation of a collection of Arab fantasy stories opens a window on to the imaginings of the medieval mind. Professor Malcolm Lyons has brought alive for the modern reader the gripping yarns in Tales of the Marvellous and News of the Strange. 

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Opportunity, and not necessity, is the mother of invention

12 Nov 2014

When food is scarce, tool use among non-human primates does not increase. This counterintuitive finding leads researchers to suggest that the driving force behind tool use is ecological opportunity – and that the environment shapes development of culture. 

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