Although a cheap and quick source of energy, the banana has a fascinating history that few people know much about. Heard of the Banana Republics? No, not the clothing store. The history of the banana, as well as other foods, goods and commodities represents an exciting and quirky trend in the growing field of cultural history. In the Cambridge History tripos, History students can choose papers in the history of material culture which will provide a novel way to study the early modern world – through the history of food! The history of the banana is also a topic for Politics and Economics students looking to trace the development of Central and South American economies whose recent histories have been heavily influenced by their relationship to the humble fruit. For a stunning and impassioned overview, check out Eduardo Galeano’s seminal work, Open Veins of Latin America.
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