Culture and Civilization Matters

July 8, 2009

Civilizations and Culture Explained Through Food and Drink!

Quick, review this video and see if you can name the country before it is revealed at the end:

In viewing this video, Jared Diamond’s discussion on the Rise and Fall of Civilizations immediately comes to mind. To delve deeper into some key turning points in British history, we are very fortunate to welcome Tom Standage to address the CCMBA program participants during our residency in London.

Tom is the author of two books that are central to the themes of the CCL course: A History of the World in Six Glasses and An Edible History of Humanity.


In both of these books, Standage provides us with a cogent crash course in ancient, classical and modern history offering a systematic chronology of human affairs from the viewpoint of food and drink.

Here is a brief overview of Standage’s A History of the World in Six Glasses (8:51 following brief commercial):

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Here is a more in-depth discussion on An Edible History of Humanity at one of Tom’s recent book signings (35:00 if you click on “Watch Full Program” on bottom right of the screen):

Vodpod videos no longer available.

During our time in London, Tom will explain to us what the British institution of “Afternoon Tea,” which often includes Scones and Jam, has to do with the Victorian Era, The East India Trading Company and the Industrial Revolution.

For a quick hint of some of what Tom Standage may share with us in London, we turn to Niall Ferguson for his insights on the history of Human Nutrition in this short clip (1:18):

Note: Click HERE to view full video on

Preparing for Tom Standage’s Address:
Please review these videos and come prepared to ask Tom some insightful questions about:

    How, throughout history, food and drink have had a huge impact on civilization as a catalyst of social change, political organization, geopoliticial competition, industrial development, military conflict and economic expansion.

    What particular combinations of food and drink are associated with the CCMBA regions and what can they tell us about the nature of that civilization and its cultural residue.

Please click HERE to return to Main Course Page.


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