United Fruit Company New Orleans

CLAS Summer Institute for Teachers
"The Octopus and the Banana:
United Fruit in Latin America"
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Thursday, July 9
8:45 -
9:15 am

— Institute Overview
YouTube video
Jean Spencer, CLAS

9:15 -

Banana Splits: The Political Economy of the Demand and Supply of Bananas to the U.S.
Alex Saragoza, Associate Professor of History, Department of Ethnic Studies, UC Berkeley

YouTube video

This talk traces the history and politics of banana imports to the U.S., the largest consumer of that fruit in the world. We will discuss the various elements involved in the movement of bananas from producing areas to soda fountains and cereal bowls in the U.S. The discussion will take into account several issues, including foreign policy (e.g., so-called dollar diplomacy), multinational corporations, land distribution, technology and advertising, among other aspects of banana consumption in the U.S. The concept of commodity chains will be a central theme of the talk.

10:30 -
10:45 pm


10:45 -
12:00 pm

Revisiting García Márquez Among the Bananas
Regina Janes, Professor of English, Skidmore College and author of several books and articles about the work of Gabriel García Márquez

YouTube video

Of many Latin American literary attacks on the United Fruit Co., Gabriel García Márquez’s in One Hundred Years of Solitude paradoxically poises nostalgia for the prosperity brought by the banana company against fury at the massacre of striking banana workers. Twining fiction and history, invention and reality, it proposes a myth for our time: that recovering violence from oblivion is of use to the present.

12:00 -
1:10 pm

Lunch on your own

1:10 -
1:15 pm

Video Excerpt: “For Export Only: Pesticides”

1:15 -
2:30 pm

Fair Trade Bananas
Anne Toepel, teacher, curriculum author and member of the Global Exchange Fair Trade Team and Jeff Kaloustian, Global Exchange Graduate Student Summer Fellow

YouTube video

Fair Trade Certification is seeking to peel back a long history of adverse economic, social, health and environmental conditions on banana farms and plantations and replace it with the hope of a brighter future for banana growing communities. We will explain how Fair Trade makes a difference and ways that you and your students can help make Fair Trade the new reality for banana cultivation.

2:30 -
2:45 pm


2:45 -
4:00 pm

The Banana Dead End: How Extinction Could Lead to Justice and Opportunity
Dan Koeppel, author of Banana: The Fate of the Fruit that Changed the World

YouTube video

For over a century, banana companies have relied on a single variety of fruit. Doing so has made bananas cheap — and dangerous. The single-banana system is responsible for decades of bloodshed and environmental devastation in Latin America, and now, the possible extinction of that breed. But in that potential disappearance lies a chance, finally, for justice (as well as more delicious bananas at our breakfast tables).

4:00 -
4:15 pm

Other Outreach Events

2008 Summer Institute for Teachers

"Empire to Empire: The Americas in the Age of Exploration"

2007 Summer Institute for Teachers

"From Crude to Cane: Energy Policy in Latin America"

2006 Summer Institute for Teachers

"Remembering Alta California, Remaking the Past "

2004 Summer Institute for Teachers

"The Making of Modern Cuba"

2003 Summer Institute for Teachers

"Ten Years After NAFTA: How Has Globalization Affected Mexico?"

2002 Summer Institute for Teachers

"Mexico in the 20th Century:
Themes of the History Curriculum








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