HIS3108 : Coffee, Chocolate and Tobacco

  • Module Leader(s): Dr Luc Racaut
  • Owning School:
Semester 2 Credit Value: 30
ECTS Credits: 15.0


This module concerns the history of trade and consumption of colonial products; uses material culture as an insight into economic, social and cultural history of Europe; and places previous knowledge of European history within a global context. It aims to explore the relationship that was forged between overseas trade and European consumption.

This module aims to:
1) Provide an opportunity to acquire a sound general knowledge of the subject, reading widely and critically in the primary and secondary literature associated with it and to develop the capacity for independent study.
2) Provide an opportunity of investigating in some depth selected problems, including the appraisal of selected source material and the critical examination of current historiography.

Outline Of Syllabus

The syllabus may vary from year to year. It will include some of the following,

1.       Introduction
2.       Chocolate, tobacco and Pre-Columbian America
3.       Europe discovers chocolate and tobacco
4.       Coffee in the Islamic world
5.       Europe discovers coffee
6.       Coffee and the end of the Old Regime
7.       Tobacco, coffee and the industrial revolution
8.       Transformation of chocolate in the nineteenth century
9.       Coffee, chocolate and tobacco and globalisation
10.       Advertising and the culture of consumption
11.       Conclusion
12.       Revision session

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion881:0088:001/3 of guided independent study
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading881:0088:001/3 of guided independent study
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching122:0024:00Seminars
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching121:0012:00seminar
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study881:0088:001/3 of guided independent study
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Seminars encourage independent study and promote improvements in oral communication, problem-solving skills and adaptability.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1802A75N/A
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2M25Essay/documentary commentary of 1,500 -2,000 words (including notes but excluding bibliography).
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Exams test acquisition of a clear general knowledge of the subject plus the ability to think and analyse a problem quickly, to select from and to apply both the general knowledge and detailed knowledge of aspects of the subject to new questions, problem-solving skills, adaptability, the ability to work unaided and to write clearly and concisely.

Documentary commentary exercises and examinations test knowledge and understanding of the texts set for the module. The ability to compare and contrast related source texts on a common subject. The ability to expound and criticize a textual extract lucidly, succinctly and with relevance in a relatively brief space, and, in an exam, under pressure of time.

Work submitted during the delivery of the module forms a means of determining student progress. Submitted work tests knowledge outcomes and develops skills in research, reading and writing.

ERASMUS students at Newcastle One 2,000 word essay to be handed in by 12.00 p.m. of the Friday of the first week of the assessment period. This will replace all work required of domestic students. It remains the case that, if an ERASMUS student specifically requests that s/he be permitted to do the same assessments as the domestic students, that option remains open to them. No variation of the deadlines will be allowed except on production of medical or equivalent evidence.

Reading Lists


Disclaimer: The University will use all reasonable endeavours to deliver modules in accordance with the descriptions set out in this catalogue. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, however, the University reserves the right to introduce changes to the information given including the addition, withdrawal or restructuring of modules if it considers such action to be necessary.