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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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Imperial Consumers at War

(p.229) Epilogue
Sugar and Civilization

April Merleaux

University of North Carolina Press

This epilogue examines how the meanings of sugar consumption kept pace with ongoing negotiations over political and economic status in the U.S. sugar empire since the turn of the twentieth century. For years after the Spanish American War, sugar consumption and production were depicted based on the contrast between civilized and primitive, which in turn legitimated both expansion and race-based exclusion. Over the next four decades, colonial administrators, reformers, policymakers, workers, and consumers remade both public policy and visual culture to conform to their notions of national and ethnic belonging. People now saw consumption and production as the consequence of social and economic policies, rather than in terms of race. This epilogue also considers how sweetness became a means for people to manage their transitions from rural to urban consumerism as well as their statuses within shifting racial and economic hierarchies.

Keywords:   sugar consumption, sugar, public policy, visual culture, race, sweetness, consumerism

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