Missives from Marx sent in a link to this animated time line documenting the diffusion of various political-economic systems (e.g., fascism, democracy, and feudalism) over world history.  It can be read as a story about the triumph of democracy, but it’s also illustrates how political-economic systems are not natural, but invented during particular historical eras, and diffuse or disappear as a consequence of war, geography, and other geopolitical factors.

Lisa Wade, PhD is a professor at Occidental College. She is the author of American Hookup, a book about college sexual culture, and a textbook about gender. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.