Commodities in Global History
Universidad Pompeu Fabra
Area of Study
Economics, International Economics, International Studies
Taught In English
Recommended U.S. Semester Credits3
Recommended U.S. Quarter Units4
Hours & Credits
The aim of this course is to get students to identify and to consider through the lenses of commodities
some of the most relevant historical processes/events of the modern world, circa 1500 to the present.
The course intends to offer an engaging approach to the study of world history by linking processes
and events such as globalization, slavery, climate change, World Wars, the Industrial Revolution,
colonization, terrorism and epidemics with the commodities that played major roles in them: gold,
cotton, rubber, oil, cocaine, coffee, tobacco and potatoes, amongst others. The review of these
connections acknowledges the differing cultural significance of commodities across time and space.
The course adopts broad (rather than a specialized) perspectives towards the study of each
commodity yet aims at retaining the academic rigor proper to each discipline. In doing this students
will grasp basic notions from social-science. By virtue of the literatures dealing with the topics covered
the course´s nature is multidisciplinary – relying on economic history, political science, anthropology
and sociology for insights, theory and evidence. Students from all sorts of academic backgrounds may
take this course. No previous knowledge in statistics or social-scientific theories is required. In both
lectures and seminars non-familiar concepts will be explained and specialized-jargon busted.
Please note that there are no beginning level Spanish courses offered in this program.
Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.