Research Project (5-6 double-spaced pages,)
Your research project is meant to have you build on the historical themes and issues we have been probing all semester. At the center of our course has been trying to better understand the relationship between what societies consume and how those things are produced. Commodities made in one part of the world circulated into others, transforming global society in the process. Your project will analyze this process through the lens of a single commodity that you regularly consume.
Think about the things you regular eat, drink, or use. Coffee, tea, bottled water, yogurt, gasoline, your cellphone, shoes – the choices are literally endless! Which of those things would you like to learn more about? As you think about it, pay close attention to your daily habits. My goal is for you to do an applied project through which you will learn a bit about the history and footprint of the things you purchase. Please check in with me as soon as possible to let me know what you are thinking of writing about. I’m happy to help.
Almost all modern commodities are sold through complex global supply chains. Those chains have lengthy histories that have evolved over time. Or, to put it simply, how we access and consume coffee today is very different than how we did half a century ago. Once you have identified a single commodity to study, your job will be to explain that history. As part of your paper you should consider the following questions:
- How has the consumption or use of this product changed over time?
- Where does it come from? How does it get here (both into the country and into the local setting where you purchase it)?
- Who produces the commodity? What types of labor issues does the production of the product allow you to examine?
- Does the production or consumption of the product raise environmental concerns? In other words, are there sustainability issues? If the answer is yes, make sure you explain
- What other issues or concerns does the commodity you chose raise that would be helpful for you to analyze in this type of a project?
These are just a few questions that I hope give you a sense of what I want you to do for this project. You can examine other issues, too. The goal is a unified essay complete with a clear thesis, so please do not merely answer the questions I posed above one after the other.
You should use academic sources to develop and support this project. By academic I mean published books or articles. Please do not merely use the Internet. I encourage you to consult at least one unique source per page. Sources should be cited using Chicago Manual of Style (see https://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide/citation-guide-1.html (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.). Citations should appear as footnotes in the text itself, in places where you use the material, and also separately, in a bibliography.
Projects should be roughly five to six double-spaced pages with standard margins. Do not skip extra spaces between paragraphs. Do not use separate subheadings to divide the paper into sections. Do not use images, tables, or anything like that.
The Commodity for choice is Chocolate.
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