HISTY301-21B (HAM)

Sugar and Spice: Commodities in Global History

15 Points

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Division of Arts Law Psychology & Social Sciences
School of Social Sciences
History

Staff

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Convenor(s)

Lecturer(s)

Administrator(s)

: monique.mulder@waikato.ac.nz

Placement/WIL Coordinator(s)

Tutor(s)

Student Representative(s)

Lab Technician(s)

Librarian(s)

: anne.ferrier-watson@waikato.ac.nz

You can contact staff by:

  • Calling +64 7 838 4466 select option 1, then enter the extension.
  • Extensions starting with 4, 5, 9 or 3 can also be direct dialled:
    • For extensions starting with 4: dial +64 7 838 extension.
    • For extensions starting with 5: dial +64 7 858 extension.
    • For extensions starting with 9: dial +64 7 837 extension.
    • For extensions starting with 3: dial +64 7 2620 + the last 3 digits of the extension e.g. 3123 = +64 7 262 0123.
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Paper Description

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Through the examination of important food staples, this course introduces students to food history and commodity history as approaches to studying local, regional and global connections from the early modern period until the twentieth century. We will critically analyse these approaches as distinct, and often interdisciplinary, methods for studying global history. In doing so, students will gain an overview of the big trends and issues - environmental, political, economic and cultural - shaping global histories over the past 500 years.

In the last 30 years, both food and commodity history have become growing fields for scholarly and popular history, and students will have the opportunity to examine different forms of historical writing and output, including popular books, documentaries, and advertising. During the course, we will reflect on why we each eat the way we do, and why food is such a powerful tool to understand and communicate cultural and economic change across time. Given current interest in better understanding the origins and impact of what we consume, the paper will also enable students to critically reflect on historic food commodity trades and their continued impact in the present.

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Paper Structure

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The course consists of a two hour lecture and one hour tutorial discussion per week. You must attend or watch all scheduled sessions and complete the required readings (the required and suggested readings will be discussed in class) in advance of the relevant class. Most tutorial sessions will involve student discussion leadership. You are expected to come to class well-prepared and ready to participate in all sessions, and to support your peers.

All lectures will be recorded via Panopto for those working remotely. We will also facilitate tutorial discussion participation through Zoom where needed.

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Learning Outcomes

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Students who successfully complete the paper should be able to:

  • Explain the influence of commodity exchange in global history, through a critical examination of the historical trajectories of select major commodities across different regions from 1400 onwards
    Linked to the following assessments:
  • Analysis the different social, political, and technological factors that shaped the emergence of and subsequently sustained different commodity trades
    Linked to the following assessments:
  • Appreciate the ways in which indigenous and European cultures and histories mutually shaped global economic development
    Linked to the following assessments:
  • Explain the value and limits of a commodity history approach for studying global history and for communicating historical scholarship to a wide audience
    Linked to the following assessments:
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Assessment

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Assessment Components

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The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 70:30. There is no final exam. The final exam makes up 30% of the overall mark.

The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 70:30 or 0:0, whichever is more favourable for the student. The final exam makes up either 30% or 0% of the overall mark.

Component DescriptionDue Date TimePercentage of overall markSubmission MethodCompulsory
1. Course reflections
Average of Best ( 4 )
15 Oct 2021
No set time
20
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
2. Reflection due date 1
23 Jul 2021
5:00 PM
-
3. Reflection due date 2
6 Aug 2021
5:00 PM
-
4. Reflection due date 3
20 Aug 2021
5:00 PM
-
5. Reflection due date 4
17 Sep 2021
5:00 PM
-
6. Reflection due date 5
1 Oct 2021
5:00 PM
-
7. Reflection due date 6
15 Oct 2021
5:00 PM
-
8. Discussion leadership
Sum of All
20
  • Online: Moodle Forum Discussion
  • Presentation: In Class
9. Book analysis essay
9 Sep 2021
5:00 PM
30
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
10. Exam
30
Assessment Total:     100    
Failing to complete a compulsory assessment component of a paper will result in an IC grade
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Required and Recommended Readings

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Required Readings

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There is no set textbook for this course. Rather, you should select a commodity history book to read for your essay and complete all the required readings in advance of the weekly tutorials. I will also suggest additional readings relevant to the topics covered each week, for those that wish to delve into particular areas of the course in more depth.

The list of books, required and suggested readings are available via Reading Lists, and linked on our Moodle page.

Book analysis essay

You should choose one of the suggested books to read for your book analysis essay. You may also choose another commodity history book in consultation with the lecturer - but make sure to get in contact and discuss this in the first three weeks of semester to ensure your choice is suitable.

Some books on this list are available as ebooks. For those only available in hardcopy, in addition to the university library, you might find further copies at the public library or through interloan (see library staff for help with this). You may also like to purchase a new or secondhand copy of your chosen book: some – though not all – are reasonably priced ($10-20) and can be ordered with free shipping from sites such as bookdepository.com or as ebooks for those have e-readers or apps. Other books are available for purchase as audiobooks if you prefer to listen.

Tutorial readings

There are required readings for each tutorial. These readings are available via Reading Lists for you to download and/or print.

The purpose of the tutorials is twofold: to equip you with the analytical and interpretive skills required in historical studies, and to develop your ability to clearly articulate your thoughts in presentation and discussion. Students are expected to come prepared to all tutorials by completing the required readings and arriving ready to discuss the material (whether in person or virtually). Tutorial material is relevant for all aspects of the course assessment, so active and engaged participation is an important element for successful completion of the course.

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Recommended Readings

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Alongside lectures and tutorials, self-directed reading is an integral part of this course. Students are advised to read alongside the lectures to augment and reinforce the material covered in class.

Suggested readings will be available via Reading Lists.

There are plenty of options, and you are not expected to read them all but to focus on those of particular interest or relevance to you and your assignments. Note the suggested readings for week one will be very helpful as they cover multiple commodities and discuss general trends, while other readings may relevant to your book analysis or course diary.

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Online Support

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This course uses Moodle as its online support space. Students should regularly check-in to the HISTY301 Moodle Page to find links to the Reading List, assessment instructions and criteria and other course announcements.
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Workload

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This course requires 150 hours of work. There is one two-hour long lecture for this course per week. There is also a one-hour tutorial each week, except for the first week. So, there are 35 contact hours for this course. The other 115 hours should be spent reading the required material including your chosen book, compiling and reviewing notes, thinking about and writing the essay and tutorial diary, and studying for the exam.
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Linkages to Other Papers

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This course provides a novel approach to global history, using food and commodity exchanges to help students to understand historical connections between nations and regions that they may have studied in other History courses, such as those on New Zealand and American history. It also builds on the programme's focus on historical theory and method, offering an examination of food history and commodity history as approaches to studying the past.

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Prerequisite(s)

Corequisite(s)

Equivalent(s)

Restriction(s)

Restricted Papers: HISTY380

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