Bitter Sweet: Sugar, Slavery, Empire, and Consumerism in the Atlantic World

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Sugar has become ubiquitous in modern-day cuisine: it’s pretty much everywhere and in everything we eat.  But how did this White Gold earn its place in consumer culture?  Join Averill, Marissa, and Katie as they discuss the history of sugar cultivation and its relationship to empire and consumerism.

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Show Notes and Further Reading:

James Patterson Smith, “Empire and Social Reform: British Liberals and the ‘Civilizing Mission in the Sugar Colonies,’ 1868-1874,” Albion 27.2 (1995) 253-77

Philip D. Rotz, “Sweetness and Fever? Sugar Production, Aeses aegypti, and Dengue Fever in Natal, South Africa, 1926-27,” PSAE Research Series 12 (2014)

Bussa’s Rebellion,” UK National Archives 

Carol MacLennan, Sovereign Sugar : Industry and Environment in Hawaiʻi (University of Hawaii, 2014)

Alice G. Walton, “How Much Sugar Are Americans Eating?” Forbes (Aug 2012) 

Britain is built on sugar: our national sweet tooth defines us,” The Guardian (Oct 2007)

Karl Watson, “Slavery and Economy in Barbados,” BBC (2/2011) 

Barrie Cook, “Pieces of Eight,” History of the World in 100 Objects (BBC & British Museum) 

Emma George Ross, “The Portuguese in Africa, 1415-1600,” Met Museum 

Matthew Edel, “The Brazilian Sugar Cycle of the Seventeenth Century and the Rise of the West Indian Competition,” Caribbean Studies 9.1 (1969) 24-43.

Mark Johnson, “The Sugar Trade in the West Indies and Brazil between 1492 and 1700,” University of Minnesota Expansion of Empire Seminar 

Sidney W. Mintz, “The Culture History of a Puerto Rican Sugar Cane Plantation: 1876-1949,” The Hispanic American Historical Review 33.2 (1953) 224-251.

Heather Pringle, “Sugar Masters in a New World,” Smithsonian.com (January 2010)  

Feature image: Historia Naturalis Brasiliae (p51) modified by Averill Earls.

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