Historiography: Learning to Read the Past

Timbuktu Manuscripts


There are few things in this world that capture the human imagination like history. The stories of people who shared our planet but not our world engage us with their tales of struggle, triumph, and discovery. History gives us a sense of identity, connecting us to the sacrifices that our ancestors made for us, their posterity. History gives us traditions, systems of social order, symbols and even religion to carry through the generations. History also gives us context for our modern day, giving meaning to the buildings that decorate our skyline, the names we give to our children and the places that we raise them.

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Husn Banu: Learning to Fight the Power

Gold Cup


Being among the powerless in a society that not only worships it, but also retains it in the hands of a few, makes for a difficult life to say the least. Regardless of the time in history that one may occupy, there are corrupt and powerful people that will abuse their position for their own personal gain at the expense of those without the power to retaliate. In order to subvert the self-indulgent machinations of those that would abuse their power, the powerless are forced to be creative in the means by which they contravene these abuses and get justice, if at all.  The story of Husn Banu, one of many of the writings associated with Hatim Al Tai of Yemen, gives us an example of a young woman that managed to do just that.

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