Nature, Body, and Mind: Chocolate and Tobacco in the Hispanic World and Beyond
In ancient Mesoamerica the rituals of chocolate and tobacco existed in a universe of plants, animals, insects, and nutrients. This ecological order was at the heart of a cosmic view linking gods and humans through the cycle of seasons and the movement of celestial bodies. This course traces the parallel understandings that chocolate and tobacco generated as they penetrated into colonial culture, traveled to the Old World, and entered western scientific knowledge. Materials include ancient Maya and Aztec art, as well as Spanish primary sources on natural history, literature, travel accounts, and medicine. The course also includes a selection of rare books from the Rubenstein Library.