Milk, Sugar, Honey: Sweetness and the Making of the Modern World
A presentation from 2022–2023 Evelyn Green Davis Fellow Elizabeth Maddock Dillon
Elizabeth Maddock Dillon teaches courses in the fields of early American literature and history, Atlantic theatre and performance, and transatlantic print culture. At Radcliffe, she will work on a book that explores the history of sweetness in the form of three substances: milk, sugar, and honey. European settler colonials who developed sugar plantations in the 18th-century Caribbean pioneered a system of agricultural monocropping that relied on enslaved labor to jump-start modern capitalism. The book project traces how the twin forces of racial capitalism and monoculture have decisively shaped our food chain, our bodies, and our lives from the 18th century to today.