Brief histories of art and culture

"It is curious to note how fragile the memory is, even for the important times in one's life. This is, moreover, what explains the fortunate fantasy of history." (Marcel Duchamp)

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Africa historical overview: from the 1600s to the present
Africa historical overview: from the 1600s to the present

By the sixteenth century, Western trade involved Africans being forcibly brought to the Americas as slaves.

Africa historical overview: to 1600
Africa historical overview: to 1600

Recent discoveries in southern Africa provide remarkable evidence of the earliest stirrings of human creativity.

About chronological periods in the Islamic world
About chronological periods in the Islamic world

Studying the art of the Islamic world is challenging, partially because of the large geographic and chronological scope of Islam. Islam has been a major religion and cultural force for over fourteen centuries and continues to be so today. At present the Arts of the Islamic World Section is organized into three chronological periods: Early, […]

A brief history of the cultures of Asia
A brief history of the cultures of Asia

An introduction to the diverse cultures of Asia and their intersecting histories

A brief history of Western culture
A brief history of Western culture

History is untidy. Though imperfect, defining periods and styles can order the chaos of millennia.

What maps tell us
What maps tell us

Whether you’re centered on Jerusalem or relegated to a spot “down under,” maps reflect belief as much as location.

Common questions about dates
Common questions about dates

Where to begin? Depending on the calendar, it all starts with Christ’s birth, the new moon, or Pope Gregory.