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May 2019

May 9th, 2019 / 12:10 PM

Lunch and Learn: Sex in a Cup: Chocolate and Gender through the Ages


Sex in a Cup: Chocolate and Gender through the Ages

Kathryn Sampeck
Associate Professor of Anthopology
Department of Sociology & Anthropology, Illinois State University

During the eighteenth century, chocolate moved from being a sporadic curiosity to a daily necessity not just across the Americas, but also across the Atlantic. That an American tropical cultivar became such a pervasive part of life in the colonial world is remarkable. A comparison of pre-Columbian with colonial archaeological and historical evidence in Central America shows that chocolate was increasingly characterized as a woman’s drink, food, and flavor. Examples from three kinds of chocolatey evidence (recipes, material culture, and depictions) offer insight into the broader context of labor, gender, and social regimes.