Bringing Berber empires into focus as contributors to Islamic culture

06 Jul 2016

The Almoravid and Almohad empires flourished in the western Mediterranean of the 11th and 12th centuries. Despite controlling vast tracts of land, these Berber dynasties are little known in the English-speaking world. In her latest book, Dr Amira Bennison looks at the rise and fall of Berber empires that made a lasting contribution to the history of Islamic culture.

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Just your cup of tea: the history (and health claims) of the nation’s favourite brew

09 Jun 2016

How do you take your tea – with a drop of poisonous chemicals or a spoonful of sheep dung? Throughout history, the health benefits – and harms – of this popular beverage have been widely debated. In an article originally published in the student science magazine BlueSci, Sophie Protheroe, an undergraduate student at Murray Edwards College, examines the global history of tea and its effect on our health.

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The illiterate boy who became a maharaja

31 May 2016

As they struggled to maintain their grip on India as the jewel in the colonial crown, the British attempted to mould the character of India’s princes. Research by Teresa Segura-Garcia into the remarkable story of Sayaji Rao III, Maharaja of Baroda, reveals the thinking behind his education and its practical implications. She presents her work in a talk tomorrow (1 June 2016).

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On the life (and deaths) of democracy

26 May 2016

The ‘life’ of democracy – from its roots in ancient Athens to today’s perverted and ‘creeping, crypto-oligarchies’ – is the subject of a newly-published book by eminent Cambridge classicist Paul Cartledge.

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The man we love to hate: it’s time to reappraise Thomas Robert Malthus

18 May 2016

Thomas Robert Malthus, who was born 250 years ago, became notorious for his ‘principle of population’.  He argued that, because poverty was inevitable, some people would not find a seat at ‘nature’s table’ and would perish. In a new book, historians at Cambridge and Harvard set the life and work of this contentious thinker within a wider context – and look in particular at his engagement with the world beyond Europe.

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