Tobacco in History: The Cultures of Dependence
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Jordan Goodman explores the historical transformation of tobacco from Amerindian shamanism to global capitalism, from the food of the spirits to the fatal epidemic, from the rough pipe and cigar to the modern-day cigarette. This scholarly and comprehensive survey combines up-to-date published work with primary research to provide a systematic way of understanding current debates from a historical perspective. Goodman draws on a wide range of disciplines to present a history that explores larger themes, such as colonialism, consumerism, medical discourse and multinational enterprise. The book reveals the complex web of dependence and relationships surrounding this controversial commodity.
and parts of North Africa (Akehurst 1981:34). Tobacco is grown from seed, microscopic in size—a one ounce sample may contain as many as three hundred thousand seeds (Akehurst 1981: 48). Wherever tobacco is cultivated, the crop needs to go through certain stages before it is ready for market. There are variations but the general pattern is as follows. Since the seed is minute and the seedlings produced very fragile, they need to be raised in seedbeds before being planted in the field. Once on
they believe makes it much more cool and wholsom. (Samson 1960:227) The inventiveness of the hookah was extraordinary. John Fryer, who travelled throughout India and Persia in the last quarter of the seventeenth century, also described the hookah and confirmed very much what Terry described some sixty years earlier. Fryer, though, noted that the hookah was a crucial part of the coffeehouse and that it was the centrepiece of the ritual of the entire practice, including smoking, drinking and
of low-tar and low-nicotine delivery. The filter cigarette and the newer low-tar, low-nicotine brands have pushed multibranding far beyond the levels envisaged when the practice first began after the Second World War. The process was further accelerated by the introduction and rapidly growing popularity of the female cigarette. The idea of a female cigarette was not new to the postwar period. The idea had been floated before and several attempts had been made by tobacco companies to get such a
as 1889 the New York Times carried the following articulation of the opposition of tobacco and tension: 120 ‘THE LITTLE WHITE SLAVER’ Whatever be its merits or demerits, one thing is certain—namely, that there is an ever-increasing subjection to the influence of this narcotic, whose soothing powers are requisitioned to counteract the evil effects of the worry, overpressure and exhaustion which characterize the age in which we live. (Tennant 1950:141) The third reason why the medical profession
material and symbolic existence. These men, as a recent study has brilliantly portrayed, were obsessed by tobacco (Breen 1985). The reasons are not difficult to find. First, tobacco continued to be their primary staple, though on their large plantations some amount of land was devoted to food crops, a proportion of which was marketed (McCusker and Menard 1985:128–31; Clemens 1975; Walsh 1989). Second, their personal material world, their homes, clothes and food, all of which were culturally