Crops, food, and the history of the Americas

History 39L

Fall 2005
225 Dwinelle
Day & Time: 
Th 10-12

The premise of this seminar is that the production of food crops have shaped our history and reflected our past in amazing, and often underappreciated, ways. Toward that end, this course will view how changing crops have influenced historical development and the lives of countless humans and how the creation of food from those crops reflects our culture. The course will consist of three parts. First, we will read a series of books that illustrate the role of crops in the historical development of the Americas and Europe. Next we will explore the history of specific crops ranging from sugar to the potato and view how they changed society. Finally, we will view how food has been reflected in our society ranging from ethnic cuisine and fast food. Students will be required to write two essays and will be asked to participate actively in seminar discussion.