Ford comes full circle when she examines how soul style has returned to Africa in the final chapter. Women who wore Afro hairdos, hot pants, mini skirts, and dresses with bold prints could either be activists trying to define black as beautiful or women aiming for modernity with imported styles from America and Britain.
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Either way, Ford argues, Afro look in Africa represented a way to transgress apartheid restrictions. Consuming Afro look, therefore, became a politicized action, whether or not it was intended as such. When the apartheid system was finally dismantled in , the South African fashion industry blended memory with clothing, exemplifying a history that is being actively lived and remembered. Indeed, Ford details how black women in America, England, and Africa used seemingly quotidian practices, such as hairstyles and fashion choices, as tools for gender and political liberation.
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Open Access. First Online: 07 December Download chapter PDF. To probe this hunch empirically, I first checked the English-language corpus of books available for review using the Google Ngram Viewer.
It is not until the s that each of them gains some real traction. However, what becomes clear when we refine this exercise further is that they gain that traction together. The results of this exercise are shown in Fig. English language books. Open image in new window. A similar spike of interest in the history of consumption is also evident in French-language books as tracked by the Google Books database.
Several things are noteworthy about the comparison with the similar acknowledging the different nuances, of course English phrases. First, the tight link between the rise in usage of global history and the consumer revolution is not present in French; indeed, there is no link at all. Here the rise already begins in the s, peaks in the early s and diminishes thereafter. But this latter term also captures a good deal of writing about contemporary consumer culture for both the French and Anglo-American cases , whereas the specifically English usage of consumer revolution is predominantly an historical phenomenon.
So while the French-speaking world took notice of consumption and its connection to society at about the same time that the English-speaking world did, it did not then go on to develop a special fascination with an historical episode labelled as a consumer revolution. Nor did it see any particular simultaneous rise of interest in world or global history.
French language books. Notes 1. Kwass : A similar exercise can be conducted for the German-language literature stored in Google Books, but once again the specific terms of interest do not translate particularly well. The latter shows a steep decline beginning in the late s, perhaps not surprisingly given the traumatic aftermath of the Second World War. See Fig.
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German language books. North , p. Kwass, Michael. Representations 82 1 : 87— CrossRef Google Scholar. Mazlish, Bruce and Ralph Buultjens, co-eds. Conceptualizing Global History. Boulder, CO: Westview Press. Google Scholar. McCants, Anne. In: Goods from the East: Trading Eurasia — , ed. Maxine Berg, — New York: Palgrave Macmillan. In: Linking Cloth-Clothing Globally , ed. Miki Sugiura. Tokyo: Ochanomizu Publishing Forthcoming.
Global History and the History of Consumption: Congruence and Divergence
Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Muldrew, Craig. London: Palgrave. North, Michael. London: Routledge. Olstein, Diego. Heavy going at times, it is crowded with many more details and statistics a few of them repeated than the nonspecialist needs. Today some million people are involved in growing, transporting, weaving, stitching or otherwise processing the fibers of this plant.
These showed that cotton could be lucratively cultivated in bulk for consumers as far afield as another continent, and that realization turned the world upside down. Without slavery, he says, there would have been no Industrial Revolution.
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As soon as the profit potential of those Southern cotton fields became clear in the late s, the transport of slaves across the Atlantic rapidly increased. Cotton cloth itself had become the most important merchandise European traders used to buy slaves in Africa. Then planters discovered that climate and rainfall made the Deep South better cotton territory than the border states. Nearly a million American slaves were forcibly moved to Georgia, Mississippi and elsewhere, shattering many families in the process.
And who structured the bond deal for the Louisiana Purchase, which made so much of that possible?