Advanced Studies in International and Area Studies
IAS 150.2 Advanced Studies in International and Area Studies: Commodities and Cultures in the Making of the World Economy
Time/Location: TuTh: 12:30-2pm / 122 Latimer
Final Exam Group 17: Friday, 12/14/2018; 8:00am – 11:00am
Instructor: Stephanie Ballenger
Commodities and Cultures in the Making of the World Economy”: This class explores how commodities can help us better understand connections between different social systems, worlds of meaning, and labor regimes. Starting from the premise that commodities are more than just “things” that humans produce, sell, trade and consume, the course seeks to elaborate how commodities are among the most useful tools for studying the cultures of global capitalism and the building of a world economy. Case studies are likely to include but will not be limited to silver, sugar, tobacco, cacao, cotton, coffee, tea, oil and cocaine. We will seek to understand not only the relationship between production and consumption, but the cultures of producing and consuming regions and how commodities shaped complex links between diverse peoples. More than world regions being bound together by expanding trade networks, the study of commodities helps us to better understand local, national and global power dynamics as they have taken shape over the last five hundred years – no small thing.
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