HIS 154 — How Food Made History
In this course, we will embark on a journey through global history, moving from prehistory through civilizations of antiquity, early empires of America and Asia, and European colonization in Africa and into modern times. Each week, we will look at an important historical moment and essential food product to see how food put people into movement and sometimes conflict. For example, sugar production was part and parcel of slavery in the American colonies, and later, chewing gum became synonymous with globalization in the late 19th century and after the two world wars. This course requires no prior knowledge in world history, only a healthy curiosity and a willingness to explore how history gets made by the simple things in everyday life.
This course includes an optional field trip to the National Steinbeck Center in Salinas. The session includes a guided visit through the center’s exhibit, which, along with discussion, will introduce us to migrant labor in industrialized agriculture. Transportation and museum entry costs will be the responsibility of the student. More information will be provided at the first class meeting.