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Global Goods: Commodity Cultures Past and Present
ANTH 165
Spring 2016 not offered

The world we inhabit is full of global goods. We drink coffee and tea; we eat bananas, potatoes, and corn. All of these products moved into global circulation in the last few hundred years, with the intense global connections that came alongside European colonialism. We will ask what traveled when Europeans began to consume goods such as tobacco and tea from the 15th century onward, and why particular commodities were favored over others. How did the habits that accompanied particular material objects affect those who used them? How is it that things--actual material objects--are such an important part of early globalization and colonialism? We will also examine globalization as a multidirectional process and understand the movement of objects in complex processes of cultural exchange in which indigenous groups were often savvy consumers.

We will also think about the cultural dimensions of commodity chains in the contemporary world. Through examining coffee and other commodities, we will think about the ways in which the meaning of objects changes as they pass through different cultural contexts, paying particular attention to the fact that seemingly concrete objects of globalization (such as Coca-Cola and McDonald's restaurants) may undergo significant shifts in meaning as they move into different contexts. To help explore these aspects, we will go on at least one field trip relating to our class materials (e.g., a local chocolate shop and/or coffee roaster).
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: SBS ANTH
Course Format: Lecture / DiscussionGrading Mode: Graded
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (ARHA)

Last Updated on MAR-04-2024
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