This edited volume, written by historical anthropologists, archaeologists, and not a few historians, makes a wonderful addition to the growing literature on commodities, food, and drugs in Latin American history. In some sense, these topics are all children of Sidney W. Mintz's field-making Sweetness and Power: The Place of Sugar in Modern History (1985). While historians, a lot of them “recovering” economic historians, tend to focus on what Mintz regards as the “outside meanings” that shape goods and consumption habits—political economies, commodity chains, larger, even imperial, power structures—the scholars in this volume are developing the harder-to-capture “inside meanings” of goods. Yet these essays go beyond vague longings for culture, identities, or hybrid material life. They shift the conversation from political economy to ideas about “ingestible commodities,” cultural enchantments and seductions, the interior or corporeal boundaries of colonialism, commodity succession, “thingyness,” and a...
Book Review|November 01 2018
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Paul Gootenberg; Substance and Seduction: Ingested Commodities in Early Modern Mesoamerica. Hispanic American Historical Review 1 November 2018; 98 (4): 721–723. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00182168-7160457
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