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Julie Landweber (Associate Professor of History) received her B.A. from Reed College and her Ph.D. from Rutgers University. A specialist in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century France, she has published on the cultural and political relationship between France and the Ottoman Empire, on "turquerie" in early modern French culture, and on the early history of coffee in France. Her research interests include cultural history, the history of food and drink, material culture, women's and gender history, and the first French empire. Courses she regularly teaches include: The Emergence of European Civilization 1500-1915; Food in World History; Food, Drugs, and Society in Early Modern Europe; and the Early Modern Consumer Revolution.
Early modern Europe, seventeenth-century and eighteenth-century France, women's and gender history, France and the Ottoman Empire, identity formation, coffee, food and cooking, turquerie, fashion, Caribbean, Atlantic, first French empire.
- 2:30 pm - 4:30 pm
- 11:15 am - 12:15 pm
- 2:30 pm - 4:30 pm
- 11:15 am - 12:15 pm
BOOK IN PROGRESS: Embracing the Queen of Beans: How Coffee Became French, 1660-1789
Before the seventeenth century, caffeine was virtually unknown in France; by 1660, chocolate from Mesoamerica, tea from China, and coffee from Arabia had all become available for consumption to the select few who had access and interest. Within two generations, coffee had become France’s caffeine of choice, giving rise in the eighteenth century to a vibrant coffee culture of cafés and domestic consumption in many of the kingdom’s cities. Demand for the stimulating beverage grew so high that by 1710 French entrepreneurs began scheming to wrest control of coffee production away from Arabia by cultivating it in France’s colonies overseas. "Embracing the Queen of Beans: How Coffee Became French, 1660-1789" is the first comprehensive history of the French adoption of coffee, and their push to turn a rare item into a global commodity. Why and how did the French learn to drink coffee, and why did coffee become their preferred form of caffeine instead of chocolate or tea? What effects did this new commodity have on seventeenth- and eighteenth-century French culture and society, and how did it shape a budding empire? "Embracing the Queen of Beans" answers these questions, while revealing France’s little-known but pivotal involvement in making coffee culture a global phenomenon. While France is widely credited with creating modern café culture, few are aware that France played a significant role in spreading coffee cultivation around the world. This study is based upon close reading of a wide array of primary sources, including travel narratives, scientific treatises, colonial administrative correspondence, censuses, maps, plantation records, planters’ manuals, cookbooks, fashion plates, trade cards, paintings, engravings, porcelain objects, and furniture in the collections of libraries, archives, and museums in France, the United States, and the United Kingdom.
DATABASE AND WEBSITE PROJECT IN PRGRESS: Visualizing Data in the Eighteenth Century French Caribbean
Over the course of the eighteenth century, the French crown transformed its Atlantic colonies from a loosely administered archipelago of buccaneer outposts into France’s most dynamic economic region. By the end of the century, the Caribbean colonies were the cornerstone of France’s prosperous empire and the envy of European rivals. Increasingly aware of the political and economic importance of the region, the crown sought to harness and command the tremendous productive potential of the islands and their inhabitants. To do so, royal administrators relied on two essential types of data: censuses and maps. These records became the basis upon which the French government and colonial officials visualized and governed the population and wealth of the French Caribbean during the tumultuous eighteenth century. In the present day, these census records and maps remain critical sources for understanding French political and administrative ambitions and how these metropolitan aspirations intersected with local social and economic developments to produce the plantation complex, a dramatic increase in transatlantic slavery, and the advent of new racial ideologies in the French Atlantic. These developments ultimately generated a revolutionary impulse that culminated in two world historic events: the French and Haitian Revolutions. The effects of these revolutions rippled across the Atlantic and influenced events across Europe, the Americas, and Africa well into the twenty-first century.
"Visualizing the Data of the Eighteenth Century French Caribbean" offers contemporary researchers the opportunity to use the same census records and historical maps commissioned by the French royal government to analyze the dynamic transformations that occurred in the Caribbean colonies in fine detail. It does so by providing these sources in formats suited to today’s digital and visual technologies. When complete, the database and website will offer scholars open access to eighteenth century census records of the French Caribbean in digital formats that can be used alone or with georeferenced historical maps and GIS software. Equally important, the project will provide scholarly tools that will help investigators better understand the ways these sources blurred the imaginary and the objective quantitatively and visually, but with real-life implications for those who lived and toiled in the colonies. Together these digital formats and analytical resources will allow scholars at all levels to assess, visualize, and critically analyze the demographic and economic changes that occurred in the eighteenth century French Caribbean and generate new understandings of this revolutionary era and region.