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Sugar and CivilizationAmerican Empire and the Cultural Politics of Sweetness$
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April Merleaux

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781469622514

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469622514.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Sugar and Civilization

April Merleaux

University of North Carolina Press

This book chronicles the rise of a sugar empire in the United States from the Spanish American War through the New Deal of the 1930s. It considers how changing patterns of migration shaped new meanings for sugar consumption, how sugar and sweetness reinforced hierarchies of civilization and race, and how the nation-state created divisions of labor that privileged some producers and consumers while disadvantaging others. It also examines international and imperial trade policies as a crucial link connecting workers and consumers across oceans and continents, as well as the ways that sugar helped “balance the accounts” of U.S. imperial capitalism as new territories and workers began participating in the national economy. Finally, the book analyzes commodity cultures to illuminate the comparative politics of race and economy.

Keywords:   sugar, migration, sugar consumption, civilization, race, nation-state, consumers, trade policies, capitalism, commodity culture

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