“Light of the World”: The Life and Legacy of Nur Jahan (1577-1645)

Maggie Schuster

University of Minnesota



Fig.1 1620 by Abu’l Hasan (Harvard Art Museum)

The rulers of the Mughal empire (1526-1858) used their connection to Timur (d.1405) and the Timurids to legitimize their rule over India and had always considered patronage of royal women a common practice. Timur himself claimed lineage with Genghis Khan through his wife, a relative of the Mongolian ruler, to legitimize his own rule. Because of this, female members of the Timurid and Mughal royal families were encouraged to contribute to the empire through the commissioning of charitable and non-charitable institutions. It was this convention that aided Nur Jahan, wife of Jahangir (r. 1605-1627), in her patronage of many of the Continue reading


Why Was Celebrating the Olympic Games So Important in Hellenic Culture?

Luca Ricci

University of Adelaide (Australia)


; I21K ; G20H; C18D; S25T

Discus thrower, c.400BCE, British Museum

The Olympics were not just recreational games. Rather, they served other socio-cultural purposes. Anthropological analysis of games reveals a deeper understanding of agonistic practices: not only do they underpin the social function of man within society through competition, but they also highlight the dichotomy of life and death. Celebrating the Games, in particular, was crucial because it enhanced individual prestige and, at the same time, it developed a Pan-Hellenic socio-cultural dimension. As this paper will reveal, religion in the Olympics functioned as a tool for both individual and communal expression. Continue reading

“If I Pick Flowers”: Posters, Popular Culture, and Gorbachev’s Reforms in the 1980s

James Masnov

Western Oregon University



“Shame to the drunkard” (1972)

In 1985, the new General Secretary of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, introduced sweeping reforms which altered the course and culture of Russia. His twin policies of “glasnost” (openness) and “perestroika” (restructuring) ushered in a liberalization of speech, the press, and the Soviet economy. The Soviet Union had suffered from economic stagnation for over a decade when Gorbachev took office, and lingering Stalinist-style abuses and intimidation against the population during the previous twenty years exacerbated an atmosphere of general hopelessness and pessimism. Gorbachev sought reform to strengthen the Soviet economy and inspire a renewed optimism. His policies of liberalization were not motivated by impulses to undercut or subvert Soviet Continue reading

“Better Dead than Red”: The Treatment of Native Americans in the Southwest during the Cold War

James P. Gregory Jr.

University of Central Oklahoma (Edmond, Oklahoma)



Navajo Native Americans protest uranium mining (Source: Deutsche Welle)

In the mid-20th century, the United States was in the midst of the Cold War with Russia. During this war, the United States government sought to unite its citizens in order to combat communism. The government spread a message of Continue reading

Lessons from the Village: The Vietnam War and American Counterinsurgency Tactics

Edwin Tran

University of Nevada, Reno



US soldiers searching village for Viet Cong, 1966 (Wiki)

In 1961, recognizing that the Viet Cong insurgency differed from the conflicts of Korea and World War II, President John F. Kennedy embraced covert operations in order to train the state of South Vietnam in conducting counterinsurgency operations. Such tactics heralded a new chapter in the way war would be waged. No longer was it about large ground assaults, or heroic Continue reading

Containing the Kalon Kakon: The Portrayal of Women in Ancient Greek Mythology

Dessa Meehan

Western Washington University (Bellingham, WA)



The Judgement of Paris, Peter Paul Rubens, c. 1636 National Gallery, London (Wiki)

According to the American Heritage New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, mythology is defined as “the body of myths belonging to a culture” or “a set of stories, traditions, or beliefs associated with a particular group or the history of an event, arising naturally or deliberately fostered.”[1] Both of these definitions point out a vital component of mythology: the impact cultural history had on its inception. There is a clear Continue reading

The Representation of Asian War Brides through a Cold War Lens

Laura Chun

Occidental College (Los Angeles, California)



Sgt Morgan and wife “Blue” (1951, Life)

In the aftermath of World War II, American politicians began to emphasize the importance of having influence around the world to combat Communism, thus shifting focus away from domestic policy and towards foreign policy. With American occupation of Japan, the Korean War, and the ongoing Cold War with the USSR, America’s image as the leading democratic nation became ever more important. While stationed in Japan and Korea, American GIs formed relationships with foreign women. Sometimes these relationships resulted in marriages, with the brides being known as war brides. The frequency of war brides, especially Asian ones, became so common that eventually politicians needed to develop laws for GIs to bring their foreign wives back to the United States, despite the existence of national origins quota laws and anti-miscegenation laws. These war brides Continue reading