Woman of the Steppe, Pride of the Nation

Woman of the Steppe, Pride of the Nation

Born in 1893 in a village near Kazakhstan's border with Russia, Akkagaz Doszhanova in 1922 became the first woman from her homeland to graduate from a medical university in the Soviet Union. Over the decade that followed, she advocated for women’s access to education and health care, as well as famine relief and rural health care, until her death from disease, perhaps contracted in the course of her profession, at age 39. Pioneer, role model, heroine—these are the words used to describe her in Kazakhstan today. Yet her legacy was almost another casualty of Soviet purges of the late 1930s. Only now are her descendants and historians uncovering her story.

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Rust and Dreams on the Beirut-Damascus Railroad

Rust and Dreams on the Beirut-Damascus Railroad

Built with a third, toothed rail to help it over the mountains, the railroad between the capitals was a world-class engineering feat of the late 19th century. It ran for 80 years, and hopes for its revival may yet be gathering steam.
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The Sweetness of My Middle Eastern Vegan Kitchen

The Sweetness of My Middle Eastern Vegan Kitchen

From hummus to harira to olive oil, ever since the dawn of agriculture, the Middle East has offered delicious, healthy, environmentally low-impact foodways that honor tradition while embracing innovation.
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Egyptology’s Eloquent Eye: Mohammedani Ibrahim

Egyptology’s Eloquent Eye: Mohammedani Ibrahim

As a young man in 1906, Mohammedani Ibrahim joined the work crew of US archeologist George Reisner, who used cameras to record systematically what shovels and picks were unearthing. Ibrahim mastered the technology, and over 30 years he made more than 9,000 exceptionally artful images.
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Spice Migrations: Cumin

Spice Migrations: Cumin

Aromatically sharp, earthy and haylike, cumin is essential in cuisines from Asia to Latin America. It is also one of the world’s oldest spices, one that has served as a remedy, a seasoning and a commodity for nearly 4,000 years.
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Mi Leu, Ma Villo, Provençal (My Eyes, My Town, in Provence)

Mi Leu, Ma Villo, Provençal (My Eyes, My Town, in Provence)

One day I encountered a photo of a man looking through a car window as sunlight reflected his view of the nearby cityscape. Soon afterward, I began this portrait series, of which four images are shown here, in my hometown of Vence, near Nice, France.
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Flavors: Rice with Carrots and Raisins (Kabuli Palaw)

Flavors: Rice with Carrots and Raisins (Kabuli Palaw)

In a time before the convenience of julienne slicers and store-bought peeled and slivered nuts, kabuli palaw was time-consuming and elaborate to prepare and was reserved primarily for ceremonial events. These days, although it takes less time to make, it still commands reverence. The delicate blend of spices and a crowning glory of glistening carrots, raisins and nuts give kabuli palaw pride of place among Afghan rice dishes.
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