Category Archives: All

The Relationship Between Tea and Sugar

Sugar is something we are familiar with and consume daily and tea, although maybe not as popular, is still also a notable drink. However, the importance connection between these two commodities is often overlooked when we come across them today. Our podcast is based off the article Complications of the Commonplace: Tea, Sugar, and Imperialism written by Woodruff D. Smith which discusses the importance and connections between sugar and tea.

Amanda Milanowski, Daniel Bonneville, Jordan Dobbe and Emma Rasmussen

Fall 2015

Coffee: Drink your way to “wealth”

If you were to ask someone today what they believed changed the social classes in Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries, they would most likely not say coffee. Today students of UWL: David Simpson, Sam Belanger, and Sterling Jones, will dive deep into how coffee attributed to the social class change in Europe during this time. Come join us as we discover things about coffee, that you may have never known until now!

How Coffee Changed Europe

This podcast will talk about the replacement of beer with coffee in England and how coffee expanded into what it is today. It will go over topics on the sphere of influence of coffee, coffeehouses, the effect of coffee on the body, and arguments against coffee. Fayde, Tae, Josh, and Ryan will be guiding you through coffee’s journey and how it came to be.


Water Podcasts Parts 1 & 2

Of all the commodities in the world, none were as important to the growth and development of human civilization as water. Some of the first great civilizations were centered on water sources such as rivers and lakes. Living near rivers was convenient because it gave easy access to water and the many uses of it. People used these water sources as a means to irrigate crops and trade between cities. As civilization advanced, people began to look outwards to even further off lands. Humans began to build large sea fairing vessels to transport them and commodities to these far off lands. Vasco de Gama and Christopher Columbus were two of the major explorers who discovered new lands and brought new commodities to Europe.  Wealth was found on the water, due to the importance of trade at the time. In our first podcast we look at the history of water and its importance to agriculture and navigation.

As civilization and technology advanced further, humans developed a self-destructive society. Smog producing factories, chemical waste, and the lack of awareness for the environment has led to a much more toxic ecosystem. As time progressed, people became aware of their environmental impact and have taken steps towards a greener future. Laws and regulations have been some of the actions put in place to protect the environment but as you will see in our second podcast they do not always work out. We invite you to sit back, listen, and enjoy the history of water.

Evan Mol, Taylor Lansing, James Mulligan


Chellaney, Brahma. Water: Asia’s New Battleground. Washington, D.C: Georgetown University Press, 2011.

Du, Yan-Jun, Ning-Jun Jiang, Shui-Long Shen, and Fei Jin. “Experimental Investigation of Influence of Acid Rain on Leaching and Hydraulic Characteristics of Cement-based Solidified/stabilized Lead Contaminated Clay.” Journal of Hazardous Materials 225–226 (July 2012): 195–201.

Langford, Malcolm. “The United Nations Concept of Water as a Human Right: A New Paradigm for Old Problems?” International Journal of Water Resources Development 21, no. 2 (June 2005): 273–282.

Outwater, Alice B. Water : a natural history. New York, NY: BasicBooks, 1996.

Solomon, Steven. Water : the epic struggle for wealth, power, and civilization. New York: Harper Perennial, 2011.


Tea Podcasts Parts 1 & 2

Throughout history, the commodity of tea has withstood the hands of time.  Tea has been manipulated and recreated by several different cultures throughout the years, yet it is still loved around the world today.  Tea began its story by being used for religious rituals in religions like Buddhism. Today, on the other hand, it is more of a social drink; tea is enjoyed while socializing with friends, family, or even by yourself.  Even though some people have not had the pleasure of tasting tea for themselves, one can still recognize the relevance of tea in societies across the globe.  Tea originated in China nearly 4000 years ago.  It was discovered by a man named Shen Nung and quickly spread through all of China. Tea continued its journey all the way across the rest of the continent and also the Atlantic Ocean, ending up in the United States of America. This commodity of tea brought joy to each culture it passed through.

Each country chose to seize the opportunity to indulge in this new commodity in their very own ways.  After tea spread from China to the United States of America, many events took place that led to concerns throughout not only America, but also the world as a whole.  The occurrences that took place between the British and American Colonists were among some of the most relevant incidents relating back to this commodity.  These two independent cultures sparked the American Revolutionary War through many heinous crimes and endurances, one of which includes the Boston Tea Party.  The American Revolutionary War was just one of countless important things that happened during the many years tea was in the spotlight.

Emily Mixon, Tia Goglio, Ali Joaquin, and Krista Schuetzle


Arnold, Sue. “Tea: A Global History.” Asian Affairs 43, no. 1 (March 2012): 113–115.

Farrand, Max. “The Taxation of Tea, 1767-1773.” The American Historical Review 3, no. 2 (January 1, 1898): 266–269.

Rector, George. “Tea for Two Billion.” Saturday Evening Post 207.5 (1934): 16–72. Print.

Shao, Qin. “Tempest over Teapots: The Vilification of Teahouse Culture in Early Republican China.” The Journal of Asian Studies 57, no. 4 (November 1, 1998): 1009–1041.

Martin, Nicole. “The Secret to High Quality Tea – YouTube.” YouTube. (accessed March 6, 2013).


Opium Podcasts Parts 1 & 2

Opium is a dark paradise, and is a dark dream of reality. Since its discovery in the Eastern Mediterranean opium has exerted its power over people: destroying lives, and causing wars. In its early history, however, it was associated with socialization and wealth, and was used by upper-class ladies in Britain. However, soon after, opium became allied with the poor and unhealthy. Later in this substance’s history, Britain, China, and Afghanistan become negatively impacted—doped due to the abuse of the drug. It has transformed into several different substances—heroin, morphine, hydrocodone (or vicodin)-readily available, and used by countless people around the world.

Unfortunately today, many people still face the problems of addiction to opium. It does not take long for opium, and its many different variations to attract, and take hold of the lives of a great number of people.  It is a painkiller, used as a sort of cure-all for aches and pains. It is also used simply for the euphoric, happy feeling, while on the drug. Opium affects the brain’s neurotransmitter, dopamine, which is the body’s natural painkiller. It is also an endorphin, which in the body makes people feel better, and results in the euphoric feeling that is received when the drug is taken. Because of these effects on the body, opium has been one of the most addictive and habit forming drugs of all time. This causing opium to be a number one destroyer of people’s lives all over the world.

Haley Leissring, Brianna Karlen, Claire Amici



Courtwright, David T. Dark Paradise: Opiate Addiction in America Before 1940. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 1982.

Kreutzmann, Hermann. “Afghanistan and the Opium World Market: Poppy Production and Trade.” Iranian Studies 40, no. 5 (December 2007): 605–621.

Lindesmith, Alfred Ray. Opiate Addiction. Evanston: Principia Press of Illinois, 1957.

Newsinger, John. “Britain’s Opium Wars.” Monthly Review: An Independent Socialist Magazine 49, no. 5 (October 1997): 35.

Paulès, Xavier. “Anti-Opium Visual Propaganda and the Deglamorisation of Opium in China, 1895–1937.” European Journal of East Asian Studies 7, no. 2 (September 2008): 229–262.


Potato Podcasts Parts 1 & 2

The aroma of McDonald’s French fries make just about anyone’s mouth water, but how is it possible that they’re made from such a bland vegetable? The potato is a commodity that is used in just about every culture around the world. It is the main ingredient in popular American snacks such as French fries and potato chips. So that means most people have eaten plenty of potatoes in their lives! However, there are few consumers of this vegetable that know where it came from and how it became such a basic part of their diet. Without the original discovery of the potato in the Andes Mountain region, the world would not have been exposed to the delicious food. It once held together and fed most of the Irish people and was the sole item of both their economy and diet. Now it is simply a common ingredient in many recipes, and is served as a side to almost any dish.

Our first of the podcasts on the potato focuses on the history of the potato itself. It delves not only into the origin, but also into the long journey it took around the world and how it affected the Inca, Irish, and American cultures. The second podcast focuses on one major epidemic that was caused by the potato blight: the Irish potato famine. It gives a better understanding of how harsh the conditions were for the Irish and goes into the cause and effects of the famine.

Taylor Rauls, Tyler Randall, Amanda Newman



Bartoletti, Susan Campbell. Black Potatoes: The Story Of The Great Irish Famine, 1845-1850. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2005.

Oxford, Edward. “The Great Famine.” American History 31, no. 1 (March 1996): 52.

Pearson, Kathy L. “Potato: A History of the Propitious Esculent.” Journal of World History 22, no. 2 (June 2011): 372–374.

Pollan, Michael. “Botany of Desire.” PBS, October 30, 2009.
“The History of Potato Chips.” Food History, last modified August 4, 2011.


Sugar Podcasts Parts 1 & 2

Sugar is a very powerful commodity in our world today. We use sugar for almost everything to satisfy our taste buds. Sugar is the main ingredient in all of those sweet tasting treats we like to gorge ourselves with. This might also be the downside of sugar as we’ve noticed the obesity epidemic sweeping our nation. Our country is more focused on how well the food tastes instead of how healthy it is for our body. Now sugar is one of the healthiest ingredients we can put into our body. It is just the mass amounts and the bad sugars that we consume are what can make it unhealthy. But why is sugar so important to our body? With new technology, we have discovered why our body needs the right amount of sugar to keep our body healthy. Our body has insulin that helps control the sugar amount in our blood. If the sugar level is higher than the insulin amount, that is where sugar becomes negative and turns to fat. The sugar in our blood is then transferred all over our body to our muscles, which convert it into movement. In our podcasts we will show you how this great commodity came about to being a need of everyday life. The discovery of sugar didn’t only change the people physically, but it changed the world socially. In the following podcasts, we will tell you how sugar traveled the world, began slavery, and revolutionized the start of a new country.

Laura Huneke, Amanda Strouckel-Alden, Tyler Moore, Kaitlyn Tharp


Abbott, Elizabeth. Sugar: a Bittersweet History. Toronto: Penguin Canada, 2008.

Bassett, Sara Ware, and C. P. Gray. “The story of sugar.” Penn Publishing Co., 1917.

Mckenzie, Earl. “A View from the Canepiece.” Caribbean Quarterly 57, no. 1 (March 2011): 21–34.

Counihan, Carole M., and Penny Van Esterik. Food and Culture: A Reader. Psychology Press, 1997.

Galloway, J. H. “Tradition and Innovation in the American Sugar Industry, C. 1500-1800: An Explanation.” Annals of the Association of American Geographers 75, no. 3 (September 1, 1985): 334–351. doi:10.2307/2562638.


Coffee Podcasts Part 1 & 2

Coffee has a history just as rich as its taste. Coffee digs it roots deep into the continent of Africa in Ethiopia. Moreover, Coffee has also played an important part in helping the religious practices of Islam and Judaism followers stay awake through long services known as Tikkun Hazot. Through its travels, coffee has revolutionized Europe and America by making its users more social and influencing independence from governments. Furthermore, coffee is in a crisis. Coffee roasters today benefit financially more than coffee producers. When this occurs, producers turn away from the production of coffee and venture into other cash crops. According to Time Magazine, by the year 2080, Arabica coffee will seize to exist in the wild due to global climate changes.

We explore coffee through its uses in social spaces in the past and in the present; at Murphy’s Mug and Centennial Hall.  In this podcast we have interviewed a few students about their consumptions, if they know how coffee affects their bodies and if they use coffee to cure any ailments like the ailments that were mentioned in the advertisement campaigns of the past linking them to prior researches that were conducted to see why many people in the age group of eighteen to twenty-four had switched from consuming caffeinated products to consuming coffee.


Aubrey, Allison. 2013. “Young Adults Swapping Soda For The Super Buzz Of Coffee”

Dicum, Gregory. 1999. The Coffee Book: Anatomy of an Industry from Crop to the Last Drop. The Bazaar Books Series 2. New York: New Press: Distributed by W.W. Norton

Feather, Christine. 2006. “Top Coffee and Health Facts.” Practice Nurse 31 (11) (June 9): 6.

Paramaguru, Kharunya. 2013. “Coffee Under Threat: How Wild Arabica Could Go Extinct”

Ukers, William H. 1922. “All About Coffee” New York: Tea and Coffee Journal:5,57,65-9