NO PREREQUISITES OR INSTRUCTOR APPROVAL NEEDED FOR REGISTRATION
Do you start your day with coffee? Coffee is an integral part of life for producers and consumers around the world, and it is the world’s second most valuable commodity produced by developing countries (in terms of total trade dollars). We will explore the historical roots of coffee production and trade, including its roles in nation-building and international power relations, and its implications for environmental and socioeconomic sustainability, social justice, and economic development and its gendered dimensions. Alternatives to conventional coffee production and marketing will be considered, including Fair Trade, direct trade, and certifications (Rainforest Alliance, organic). Given periodic collapses in coffee prices, we will address the impacts of market volatility on producers and other actors. Why do consumers in the United States see little change in coffee prices when international prices fall? We will examine the roles and meanings of coffee in society, media depictions, medical controversies, and coffee-related humor. The course will be run as a seminar. Students are expected to come to class prepared to discuss the readings and participate in class activities, including a coffee tasting. Evaluation will be based on a fieldwork mini-project, class participation, short writing assignments, and a final project.
Associate Director of Academic Affairs
Center for Latin American Studies
Department of Anthropology
Environmental governance, community-based conservation, institutional analysis, climate change adaptation, belief systems, sustainability
Central America, Mexico, and Peru