Category Archives: Sociology

June 20

Forgotten Philosophers: Adam Ferguson On Social Solidarity

On the 20th of June 1723, Enlightenment philosopher and pioneering sociologist Adam Ferguson was born in Logierait, Perthshire, Scotland. “Ferguson is chiefly remembered for the Essay on the History of Civil Society (1767), an intellectual history that traces humanity’s progression from barbarism to social and political refinement. In his philosophy Ferguson emphasized society as the […]

June 12

Harriet Martineau: Agoraphobia and Feminist Freedom

On the 12th of  June 1802, pioneering sociologist Harriet Martineau was born in Norwich, England. In 1844 she wrote one of her most underrated books, Life in the Sickroom: Essays by an Invalid, a sociological investigation of illness in Victorian England, as well as an autobiographical reflection on convalescence. Written during a five year retreat to […]

June 07

Beau Brummell: The Dandy as Social Revolutionary

On the 7th of June 1778, the most famous dandy in Regency England Beau Brummell was born in Downing Street, London. Despite his middleclass background, he studied at Eton and Oxford, where he quickly gained popularity among his school friends and tutors, always challenging the official dress codes with his reinvented looks. His wit, originality and […]

May 21

Disability and Creativity: Alexander Pope

On the 21st of May 1688, English poet Alexander Pope was born in London, England. At twelve, Pope composed his earliest extant work, Ode to Solitude; the same year saw the onset of the debilitating bone deformity that would plague Pope until the end of his life. Originally attributed to the severity of his studies, […]

May 07

Hurricane Katrina, The Eye-opening Disaster

On the 7th of May 1718, New Orleans (La Nouvelle-Orléans) was founded by the French Mississippi Company, under the command of Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville. Not long before that date, Bienville, who was the Governor of Louisiana at the time, set out from Dauphin Island to select a place on the banks of the […]

May 02

Women’s Magazines and Ideology Shifts

On the 2nd of May 1885, Good Housekeeping magazine was founded by Clark W. Bryan in Holyoke, Massachusetts. Still owned by the Hearst Corporation, it has ever since featured articles about women’s interests, product testing, recipes, diet, health as well as literary articles. It has become an institution known for its “Good Housekeeping Seal of […]

April 19

The Wobbly Beginnings of Motoring in Britain

On the 14th of April 1931, the first ever edition of the British Highway Code was published, sold for one penny and containing only 18 pages of advice! Some of it was directed at drivers of horse drawn vehicles to ‘rotate the whip above the head; then incline the whip to the right or left […]

April 11

Chris Burden: The Artist Who Shot Himself

On the 11th of April 1946, the American performance artist Chris Burden was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the US. “ Among other things, Burden has been described as a masochist; an avant-garde novitiate; a social therapist; an existential populist; a hero; the alter ego of the biblical Samson; a helpless, passive victim; a heroic victim; […]

April 09

Hiroshima: The Struggle for National Memory

On the 9th of April 1880, the Czech architect Jan Letzel was born in the town of Náchod, Bohemia. After succeeding as a prolific architect in Bohemia, Dalmatia, Montenegro, Herzegovina, and Cairo, in 1907, he moved to live and work in Japan, where together with his friend, Karl Hora, he established his own Tokyo-based architectural […]

March 31

Skandalkonzert: The Battle for Modernism

On the evening of the 31st of March 1913, the infamous Skandalkonzert at the Great Hall of the Vienna Musikverein took place. Despite the bad press that followed, the event has entered public consciousness as a major breakthrough into the era of modernism in classical music. What could be more symbolic than a riot erupting […]