Fall 2009

Commodities, Nature and Society

Listed in: History, as HIST-91


Edward D. Melillo (Section 01)


[C] Participants in this seminar will explore the environmental and social histories of nine commodities: sugar, silver, silk, coffee, tobacco, sneakers, microchips, units of bandwidth, and the human body. Each of these commodities represents a complex array of linkages among producers, consumers, and intermediaries over time and space. Readings draw upon the disciplines of history, ecology, anthropology, and geography to place these commodities in their social, environmental, and spatial contexts. One of our aims is to understand the changing roles of natural systems and the divisions of labor that underlie the long-term processes of globalization.  One class meeting per week.

Limited to 15 students.  Fall semester.  Professor Melillo.


2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2009, Fall 2011, Fall 2013, Spring 2015, Spring 2020, Spring 2022