People of Color in European Art History

  1. stacysix wrote...

    I apologize if I misread the Tumblr attributions, but re: Brave/Rapunzel, I think you wrote "And of course, the former Romans living and working in Scotland at the time would have no written record of their activities or appearance because no one cared." Please google: Roman soldier letters. The first result I got was from a POC, and was quite cool. Then add "Scotland" to your search. Look for the Vindolanda Letters. Again, I'm sorry if I misattributed that statement to you. Thanks.


    I’m going to use this in something I’m writing, and also it’s absolutely hilarious and amazing, and if you haven’t read it and laughed and then looked into it, you should do.

    If there is anything that ever existed that needs at least 800 of everything written about it, it’s freezing African Romans in Scotland writing home for socks and underwear.

    There is an online searchable database for the Vindolanda tablets here.

    This is the letter about the socks (from the sender):






    Incoming mail (tablet 346) is also revealing: ‘I have sent you … pairs of socks from Sattua, two pairs of sandals and two pairs of underpants.’  It was obviously a bit cold for soldiers on the north-west frontier of the Roman Empire.



    They wore them with sandals, apparently, before they gave up and went to boots.






    "… I have sent (?) you … pairs of socks from Sattua, and two pairs of underpants, two pairs of sandals … Greet …ndes, Elpis, Iu…, …enus, Tetricus and all your messmates with whom I pray that you live in the greatest good fortune."

    ^ Say hi to Tetricus and them for me

  2. sitcomofmylife wrote...

    Hi! I was looking thru your books and resources tags, and couldn't find what I'm looking for, so I thought I'd send an ask. Do you have any recommendations for "lies my teachers told me"-style books for high schoolers? I'd like to get something for my two cousins who are starting 9th grade. I wish I'd had a heads up that the curriculum is so whitewashed and plain wrong.



    Hmmm. You know, I work in college education, so I don’t always have resources at hand for slightly younger folks, although I try. If anyone has suggestions, please add them in the notes!

    Lies My Teacher Told Me and Lies Across America would probably interest high schoolers but to really spark an interest ninth graders may like poking around the author James Loewen’s website. There’s articles and videos and a bunch of other stuff in the special features section that can lead them to the information in whatever way appeals most.

    Most of the readers in the notes seem to be of the opinion that the book is fine for high school age students; another book several recommended was Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States. I personally am not a fan for various reasons, but your mileage may vary. (If people really NEED to know why, I think the overall tone of the text attempts the whole ‘equally puncturing the pomposity of history’ but it actually comes off pretty disrespectful to the histories of a lot of marginalized Americans. Coming out of the gate with “Arawak men and women, naked, tawny, and full of wonder…” is a pretty good way to make me stop reading your book.)

  3. shadesofmauve:







    I just watched a kid break down in the bookstore because his books for the semester totaled $600 and that’s the american university system in a nutshell

    I was on the verge of tears when I got to the cashier so yeah, that’s messed up

    Go here and just, don’t waste any more money okay?

    While I entirely support following that link, I also suggest going to Abe Books or Book Depository or even eBay to see if there are inexpensive print versions of books you need. I haven’t paid full-price for any of my texts while I’m in school… because that would DOUBLE the cost of school.

    I use the ISBN of the require books and search the cheap sites for them.

    Good luck out there, guys!

    Paging FenrisLorsrai! Come work your resource magic on this post!

    I HAVE BEEN SUMMONED. (but I’ll post on my actual bookstore account)

    Quick anddirty meta search for books: Addall. it’ll crawl 40+ book sites at once including ABE, ALibris, Amazon, Half in both domestic AND foreign versions.

    Meta search #2! which focuses specifically on textbooks. It omits some foreign sites that AddAll includes, BUT it also includes a whole bunch of rentals as well.  Renting is probably the most cost effective method overall.


    First determine a few things:

    • Make sure you have the ISBN
    • IF IT IS A BUNDLE: Determine if you need a software key/CD/workbook/lab book or not.  Many times you do not.  Math classes increasingly NEED the software key, but more on that later
    • ASK THE PROFESSOR: If this is not the first edition of the book, can you use a previous edition?  One edition back is generally half the cost of current, two is generally about 1/8th the cost.  Generally you can get away with this if its material that doesn’t change rapidly. Your course on the Civil War, you can probably use two editions back. Your computer programming class on latest greatest language… you probably need newest edition.
    • FOR LITERATURE CLASSES: determine if you book is from before 1929. If it is, its in public domain, you can almost certain get a free copy online.  If they want a SPECIFIC copy for an essay bundled with book, see below.

    Now, run your search by ISBN using the two metasearch sites.  Open them in separate tabs.  

    gettextbooks shows you WITH the shipping, Addall does NOT show you the shipping.  keep this in mind when you’re comparing.  You’ll see a lot of duplication.  GetTextbooks will also show you SOME variants.

    Now that you have those open, open two more tabs.  Run a second search on same two sites using the author and exact title you picked up from search #1.  This will show you all the international editions and weird bundles that don’t exactly match the ISBN of the bookstore

    WHAT THE HELL IS AN INTERNATIONAL EDITION: its a paperback version of the US version with an angry notice on the cover saying “NOT FOR SALE OUTSIDE INDONESIA”. Its the same book, but way cheaper.  ignore the angry warning, the US Supreme Court has your back. NO, REALLY. Right of first sale, baby!  ignore the angry warning and you basically have same book, it just isn’t printed with ink made from student tears and unobtanium.

    Now filter results based on whether you need any Extra materials or not. 

    IF YOU DO NEED THE EXTRA MATERIALS: this is where it gets tricky. an intact bundle is generally the most expensive option or near top end of price curve.  If you NEED the other materials, you may be able to get them cheaper in pieces.  and you can buy mismatched pieces!

    Say for example you need a math textbook, but need the software key for the math problem program.  The professor said you can use older book.  Buy a math book that one or more editions back and then buy the software key separately from the SOFTWARE manufacturer.  You’ll find the software keys on booksites all by themselves, but they’re generally way more expensive than buying the key direct from software manufacturer. and no shipping then!

    NOW A WORD ON LITERATURE: sometimes profs want you to get a specific edition of something to read a specific essay in the book. You have about 50/50 odds that the essay is in the front of the book. IF IT IS, you may be able to read the essay on Amazon by going to that books page and clicking on the “look inside”.  They generally preview between 10-30 pages of books and that often means its the essay you needed, not the actually BODY of the book.  So you can look up the specific copy of Frankenstein on Amazon, read the essay, then download a free different version from Project Gutenberg.

    FOR RECENT NONFICTION, make sure you have an up to date library card for your HOME library and the LOCAL city library where your college is.  Many have digital loans available, where you can check out the ebook for free and popular nonfiction is frequently available that way.

    IF YOU CAN GET YOUR BOOKLIST BEFORE GOING TO SCHOOL: shop for the mundane things locally first.  There will be 50 people in CollegeTown looking for that book, you may be the only one in your home town.  supply and demand, if you found it in collegetown, it may be 10X price of your local bookstore.

    and check you local library as well!  You may be able to check out some of those books from your local library and take them to school with you and renew them online one or more times, depending on how in demand they are.  There will be NO copies in CollegeTown library because there’s 50 people asking for it.  But your HOME town, you may be able to renew it twice since its low demand. Write on your calender when they’re due or need to be renewed.  Renew them OR tuck the whole pile into a Priority Mail flat rate box and send them home to your folks.  The cost of the priority box to send several library books home is probably way less than what you’d pay for them. (or if its stuff you know you need AFTER a break where you’ll be home, request a hold from school, pick up at home)


    You determined you HAVE to buy a book and you’ve narrowed it down to a few choices of source.  Run a search for “coupon + Sitename” what looked like the lowest priced may not if you find a coupon for the 2nd or 3rd lowest priced option. Gettextbook will generate some automatically, but you may be able to find even better ones.

    So make yourself some food, get a beverage, put on some tunes and compare prices!

    and if you’re reached point of wanting to curl up in a ball and die, you can send us an ask with the ISBN for your book and answers to questions aobe (extra materials, previous edition, etc) and we’ll send you back an note with a link to the cheapest one we can find.  I do this for a living, send an ask and I’ll get it done usually within about 12 hours.


    (via cypheroftyr)

  4. tora42 replied to your quote: “In the 19th century measurements of cranial capacity by Morton and…”:
    If anyone wants to read more about it ‘Skull Wars’ by David Hurst Thomas is a decent resource, especially if someone’s interested in how skull typing was used to justify how white people treated Native Americans.
  5. gaymergirls:

    aww nasa has a page for space technology terms you can use in science fiction


    Math and Science Week! (for my fellow ‘nerds’)

    (via mumblingsage)

  6. somesocialjusticebullshit wrote...

    You do realize you are breaking the law by posting some of these pictures online right?

    *wipes away tears of mirth*

    Whew, thanks! Who doesn’t love a good belly laugh in the morning? Anyhow, as I’ve said before, the Rijksmuseum, the Met, The Walters, the NGA, the Getty, and most museums offer great free images of their Public Domain artworks online and you should utilize these wonderful resources.


    That being said, if I have inadvertently used your photograph of a public domain artwork in a way you don’t like, or really, for any reason whatsoever just message me and I will remove the images right away. There’s plenty of legal precedent for me to use them anyways, but honestly that’s just rude. Someone requested images to be replaced with links exactly once in the history of this blog, and really I have no problem doing so.

    Some museum like the Met have attempted to place nominal commercial restrictions on some of their images, but U.S. law is well-established that expecting to hold copyright on a photograph of a public domain artwork is Not a Thing.

    The thing about the internet is you can either try to hold on to the idea of copyrights that have no legal precedent, or you can get with the times and use new realms of access to get people excited about art history:


    ^ That’s the message that pops up at Rijksmuseum when you DL one of their awesome hi-Res images. Like this painting of a Javanese Aristocrat from the 1800s:


    And this is what I mean by High Resolution:


    ^ Like, seriously, not kidding you about the image quality.

  7. tamorapierce:


African Mathematics: History, Textbook and Classroom Lessons 

by  Mr Robin Walker  (Author),     Mr John Matthews  (Contributor)  

Mathematics has an interesting history in Africa. The earliest known mathematical artefact in human history is the Lebombo Bone. Thought to be 37,000 years old, it was discovered by archaeologists in South Africa. Scholars believe that the number system carved into the bone represents a lunar calendar. Later mathematical evidence comes from the Ishango region of Central Africa, Ancient Egypt, Medieval North Africa, Ethiopia, Medieval West Africa and Medieval Central Africa.
This book covers the origin and evolution of mathematics in Africa and provides teachers/students with study materials that can be used in  classrooms and workshops.
Click the link to purchase:

For the math and science geeks among us!

Math and Science Week!



    African Mathematics: History, Textbook and Classroom Lessons

    Mathematics has an interesting history in Africa. The earliest known mathematical artefact in human history is the Lebombo Bone. Thought to be 37,000 years old, it was discovered by archaeologists in South Africa. Scholars believe that the number system carved into the bone represents a lunar calendar. Later mathematical evidence comes from the Ishango region of Central Africa, Ancient Egypt, Medieval North Africa, Ethiopia, Medieval West Africa and Medieval Central Africa.

    This book covers the origin and evolution of mathematics in Africa and provides teachers/students with study materials that can be used in  classrooms and workshops.

    Click the link to purchase:

    For the math and science geeks among us!

    Math and Science Week!

    (via knitmeapony)

  8. Math and Science Week!

    echock89 submitted to medeivalpoc:

    Tidbits from my Math and Science Week Reading

    Since it’s medievalpoc’s math and science week, I thought I’d read up on some underappreciated math and science.  As a chemist who spent some of undergrad on medieval history, I had “always known” that a lot of the cool intellectual stuff in my favorite time periods was taking place outside of Europe. However for reasons that I will charitably call not valid, these great things have not been emphasized enough. So I looked to see what was available in MIT’s library, and here’s what I checked out.  

    Since I don’t have time to go over the books in detail I thought I’d provide a couple of the tidbits that jumped out at me. I apologize for subjecting these people’s hard work to the grad school skim. Any errors are likely from my attempts to quickly extract talking points, rather than the material itself.  I encourage anyone who can get access to look into this great stuff.

    Science and Technology in African History with Case Studies from Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe, and Zambia

    Editor: Gloria Thomas-Emeagwali

    • Nigerian traditional medicine includes some associations of doctors who follow rules that are similar to the western Hippocratic Oath.
    • The Borno kingdom was an important mathematics and science learning center in pre-colonial Central Sudan, but there is a tendency to dismiss its contributions as “mysticism” because of debates, at the time and later, about what constituted appropriate topics for study.
    • Pre-colonial Zimbabwe had sophisticated gold mines and gold mining technology. This industry declined after the 16th century, possibly due to exhaustion of resources or political destabilization.

    Warriors of the Cloisters

    Christopher I. Beckwirth

    • This book is a historical discussion of how recursive argument structure was passed around, modified, and expanded on by different medieval cultures. In particular the author argues that Central Asian Buddhists influenced Classical Arabs, who in turn influenced the development of Medieval Latin scholarship. This is, the author argues, a much more believable version of what actually happened then the “usual argument (which) forces us to imagine medieval Western Europeans saying to themselves triumphantly, ‘We see that the Muslims have the recursive argument method and the college, but we shall not copy them! We shall brilliantly invent precisely the same complex cultural constructs all by ourselves! It will be pure coincidence!’”
    • The recursive argument structure (formal recursion, numbered listed of subarguments) shows up in classical Arabic works prior to any appearance in Medieval Latin works (and was absent from Ancient Greek or Latin text).
    • The first college in Western Europe was founded by a merchant who had just returned “from Jerusalem.”
    • As a side note: there is a really interesting discussion in here about the terms college and university and what was meant by translations of each at different points in history, for those who are interested in such things.
    • There is a chapter devoted to various Central Asian examples of the recursive argument structure. The earliest example given is the Astagrantha.
    • The first person to use the recursive method in Arabic, Avicenna, mentions in his autobiography that he learned his methods of posing questions and raising objections from a grocer who used Indian mathematics. 

    The House of Wisdom: How Arabic Science Saved Ancient Knowledge and Gave us the Renaissance

    Jim Al-Khalili

    • This book has a whole glossary of wonderful Islamic Empire intellectuals. For example…
    • Ibn Sahl: discovered the law of refraction.
    • al- Samaw’al: Wrote his first treatise on algebra at age 19.
    • Al-Fārisi: Explained the rainbow.
    • Al-Kāshi: Cosine Rule.
    • Ibn Zakariyya al-Rāzi: Made one of the first attempts to classify the chemical elements. Also did one of the first clinical trials.

    Ancient China’s Technology and Science 

    Compiled by the Institute of the History of Natural Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences

    • The Chinese scientist Mo Zi was doing pinhole optics experiments 2500 years ago!
    • As of the Ming Dynasty, there was experimentation around crossbreeding silkworms
    • Lacquer (light coating that resists corrosion) has been produced and improved on in China since it was invented about 4,000 years ago.
    • And they were also doing acoustics, alchemy, calendars,paper-making, mathematics, navigation, shipbuilding, metallurgy, earthquake detection, medicine, map-making, porcelain, surgery, mathematics…

    So in conclusion, anyone who claims white Europeans were the only ones doing good science or math at any time is either mistaken or lying.

  9. ineedthatcoffeetable replied to your post: elegantpaws said:You must write a…

    i’d buy like 50 copies and just hand them out as holiday presents, tbh

    thebibliosphere replied to your post: elegantpaws said:You must write a…

    I would use the hell out of that book until the spine wore down and the pages fell to tatters and then I’d buy a whole new one and keep going.

    ichooseyoufrodo replied to your post: elegantpaws said:You must write a…

    I totally agree, I’d so much like to add what you talk about to my history courses

    randomjenerator replied to your post: elegantpaws said:You must write a…

    Crowd source the funds!

    I’ve outlined what would be feasible under my current circumstances on the Patreon page. The one that is apparently “a scam” if I were to try and crowdfund licensing fees for printing the images (which can be quite outrageous!), according to anonymous internet ghosts.

    I mean, I quite clearly state that “if I sit here and make [x] item, this is how much I need to put the food into my mouth-hole to power the finger-typing, and pay the internet and electric to give you the [x] item”. If you (or anyone else) would like to sit and make the [x] item, that’s actually really cool and I’ll link to it gladly.

    I already put in up to 10 hour days on my days off, writing. I wake up 2 hours early on the days I work my day job and work on this, then go to work, then care for my personal obligations and fall into bed. And I’ve spent too long working menial jobs, retail and food service to consider this anything but a dream come true. But what I want doesn’t change the fact that the food needs to go into the mouth-hole.

    If you would like to write a book with the resources here, please, please do!!! I will read it, I will promote the crap out of it.

    If you would like ME to write a book using the resources here, it will take a great deal of time and money for me, personally, to do that, and I have very little of either. That has nothing to do with what I want, but that’s my reality.

    You guys are great. I love doing this. If I could make a book and a movie and ten more websites appear, I would do it in a heartbeat. I want all of those things too. But I also have people depending on me for survival, and that’s just how it is.

    Although if I am able to publish, and my mother subsequently explodes from bragging about it, I’ll be sure to send you all the cleaning bill, to keep up my reputation as a scammer. :D

  10. Museums, Libraries, and Digital Collections

    scribbleowl reblogged your post and added:

    It keeps hitting me, now that I have access to these images, how insane modern US historical education is. Specifically that we can be taught about the Silk Road, the Crusades, the Roman Empire with its roads you could safely travel from one end of the empire to the other, and the Out of Africa theory… We learn of all these events that logically would have led to a mixture of races coexisting and yet … we’re also taught that this didn’t happen. That Europe was white as a Minnesota blizzard until colonialism.

    And this is the prevailing school of thought. People get violent defending it. It’s what I believed until I started seeing this art, and I have a vested interest in knowing the history of my people. And it makes NO SENSE.

    Just another reason this blog is so valuable.

    Responses like this mean the world to me. It’s my sincere hope that even people who dislike my writing or conclusions will hopefully still look at these images and understand how important they are. That is why I have a flickr, where all the images are uploaded. It is not necessary to follow here.

    There are so many museums whose collections you can view, search, and explore on your own, as well: