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seminars > spring 2013 schedule > seminar: Gold, Chocolate, and Tobacco: Value, Ritual, and Health in the New and the Old Worlds

 

Honors Seminars Spring 2013

Gold, Chocolate, and Tobacco: Value, Ritual, and Health in the New and the Old Worlds

Course:
HON 296 Sec:004  
Credit:
3 hours  
GER Cat:
Interdisciplinary Perspectives; Global Knowledge  
Time:
1500 - 1615  
Days:
TuTh  
Location:
Tompkins 0G125  
Instructor:
Dr. Elvira L. Vilches
Associate Professor
 
Restrictions: N/A  
Description:

This seminar is divided into four main parts, each of which circles around how the concepts of value, ritual, and health evolved as European and Indigenous cultures interacted in the Americas from the sixteenth century onwards. The first part examines the aesthetic and monetary value of gold in classical and medieval societies and how these notions evolved with the colonization of the New World and modern far-reaching trade. The second part studies the indigenous uses of chocolate and tobacco in exchange, rituals, and healing. The third part explores the process through which Europeans westernized these exotic goods my morphing them into the panacea for all ill that soon came to be regarded as sinful pleasures. In the last section studies gold, chocolate, and tobacco in the media, film, and health science. Primary readings include classical myths, documents of discovery, natural history of the New World, 16th-17th century medical texts, and cultural representations such as art and literature. Secondary readings cover economic history, social history, anthropology, semiotics, cultural studies, and medicine.