Global Goods: Histories Of Commodities, Exchanges, And Cultures

HSS2041 Global Goods: Histories of Commodities, Exchanges, and Cultures
4 Intermediate Liberal Arts Credits
How have inanimate commodities served as active agents in human history?
How have global exchanges of commodities shaped socio-political boundaries?

This course will move chronologically from the late fifteenth century to the present, demystifying commodities that we have often taken for granted and studying them as drivers of transregional economies and cultures. We will survey a wide variety of commodities and market spaces: from exotic Indian tea to cotton produced in the American South to Qatar's oil reserves to Tokyo's fish markets, for example, to understand the transformation of _commodities_ into _global goods_. The course will offer factual knowledge and analytical tools for understanding the political circumstances and shifting cultural values implicated in the rise and transformation of commodities into global goods. We will explore how this transformation has left indelible marks on religion, science, democracy, race, gender, class, and ideas of human rights. We will also examine the social, cultural, and political boundaries that global exchanges of commodities demand, calling to question the idea of the _global_. Part economic, part cultural, and part environmental history, this course relies on the histories of commodities to illuminate the idea of what is global.

Prerequisites: (FCI1000 or AHS1000) and (WRT1001or RHT1000)

  • Program: Undergraduate
  • Division: History and Society
  • Level: Intermediate Liberal Arts (UGrad)
  • Course Number: HSS2041
  • Number of Credits: 4