Culture

The Long Wandering of the Damascus Rose

The Long Wandering of the Damascus Rose

Widely regarded as the most fragrant of roses, the Damascus rose bloomed first in Central Asia and came to the Levant and Anatolia via the Silk Roads. Today it is cultivated most intensively in Bulgaria’s Rose Valley, where it thrives as both export and heritage.
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Refuge in Recipes: The Research Journey of Nawal Nasrallah

Refuge in Recipes: The Research Journey of Nawal Nasrallah

It was time for the family to sit down for dinner at Nawal Nasrallah’s home in Bloomington, Indiana. Nasrallah had made her 18-year-old daughter Iba’s favorite dish, Iraqi-style eggplant biryani, in honor of the college acceptance letter Iba had just received. Iba spooned the biryani onto her plate, took a bite and burst into tears. “Where am I going to find food like this at school?” she asked.
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Going Pirogue, the Boats Feeding a Nation

Going Pirogue, the Boats Feeding a Nation

As long as a minibus and as thin as a canoe, curved like a banana and painted a rainbow of hues, the handbuilt wooden pirogue remains the watercraft of choice among half a million people who support the artisanal fishing industry along the coast of Senegal in West Africa. Pirogues were originally designed narrow for easier paddling, and their long, curved keels help them glide into surf and swell, where every morning hundreds of crews cast nets with the hopes of a good day's catch.
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What's So Resilient About Islamic Finance?

What's So Resilient About Islamic Finance?

Over the past two decades, investing, banking and mortgaging guided by Islamic principles have grown 10-fold worldwide. As a sector, Islamic finance experienced lower percentages of losses in the 2008 global financial crisis than most conventional institutions. Proponents point to lower risk profiles and focus on tangible assets, for starters.
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Mancala, the Game of Seeds

Mancala, the Game of Seeds

One of the world's oldest games, mancala needs only two players, some seeds or beads and shallow pits in the earth. Over more than a millennium and under different names, mancala spread out from East Africa, and now there are almost as many variations as there are cultures that enjoy it.
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Culture, People and Land: A Conversation with Matthew Teller

Culture, People and Land: A Conversation with Matthew Teller

International travel in 2020 went from a luxury enjoyed by some to an impossibility endured by all. British travel writer and journalist Matthew Teller witnessed his livelihood become grounded more abruptly than most.
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Why Collectors Matter: A Conversation with Arts of South Asia’s Coeditors

Why Collectors Matter: A Conversation with Arts of South Asia’s Coeditors

In Arts of South Asia: Cultures of Collecting, coeditors Allysa B. Peyton and Katherine Ann Paul draw us into the personal, institutional and political dynamics surrounding objects that have journeyed from South Asia India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Bhutan to museums abroad and, in one case, undergone repatriation.
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How a Story of Bread Became a Sharing of Culture: A Conversation With Marina Abrams

How a Story of Bread Became a Sharing of Culture: A Conversation With Marina Abrams

In this colorful, educational children's book, Marina Abrams summons her childhood memories along the Kazakhstan-China border, all brought to life and imagination by Tajik illustrator Farrukh Negmatzade.
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The Box Balconies of Lima

The Box Balconies of Lima

Originally designed to allow a gaze out to the street while blocking both harsh sunlight and prying eyes, the wooden "box balconies" that proliferated after the founding of Lima in 1535 drew from Spain's Islamic heritage. They are now beloved cultural emblems of the Peruvian capital that, if they could share stories, could tell many a tale.
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