Course Details

This online course will attempt to study aspects of global history using food as a central theme. We begin from the reflection that food has successfully transcended political and cultural boundaries in the global past, and it provides a promising path for interrogating socio-economic and cultural issues in transnational contexts.

Beyond the intricacies of production and consumption of food, we will explore the manifold implications of exchange of food leading to environmental change, trade in global commodities, contest of colonial powers, and changes in labor regimes. Using the framework of social history of commodities, we will explore one food item every week after delving into methodological and theoretical issues surrounding food history as a subject of study. Among specific food items, we will study the production, consumption, and exchange of socio-economic and political implications of sugar, bananas, pineapple, ice cream, and several intoxicants. The written work for this course will involve writing short essays on the commodities covered in the course, as well doing a group project on other commodities not covered in the course. Apart from the prescribed texts, materials for the course and the student portfolios will be drawn from digital archives, media resources, and traditional archival resources.

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