Global Commodities, American Dreams
Explores how American actors and institutions got the raw materials that built the nation. Approaches commodities as a lens through which to understand a more specific relationship between the United States and the wider world in political, economic, and environmental terms, and examines a global cartography of commodities, resources, and other “stuff” that became enmeshed in American life. Examines materials like sugar, cotton, wheat, bananas, rubber, aluminum, petroleum, uranium, drugs, and others, to trace a pattern of global resource exploitation back to sites of policymaking and consumption in the United States. Explores interconnections between human society and the non-human environment, troubling the boundary often understood to divide them. Includes themes of US empire, environment, labor, consumption, modernity, race, gender, class, and transnationalism. Students taking graduate version complete additional assignments.