Oceans of Grain: Black Paths, Food Preservation & the Place of Empire

The person I learned about prehistoric food pathways from is the most prominent communist intellectual you have never heard of. His name was Parvus, and he was a grain trader in the city of Odessa. He was Jewish, born in Belarus, but grew up in Odessa. He heard the stories of Ukraine from the master craftsmen who visited his father. You may have heard of the people most influenced by him: Rosa Luxemburg, Leon Trotsky, and Vladimir Lenin.

Lecture Description

This lecture explores how to understand the world-economy by examining the distribution of food, in this case wheat. Starting with the myth of Demeter and Persephone as stories about food storage, this lecture looks at how food storage changed how empires worked during the time of the American Revolution and Catherine the Great’s transformation of Russia through its invasion of the northern section of the Black Sea, around Ukraine. It also explores how conflicts over the delivery of grain shaped world wars I and II.


Food Revolutionary and Early National

ALL TOPICS & TITLES: Go back to all topics and titles.

Scott Reynolds Nelson

VIEW SPEAKER : Scott Reynolds Nelson

More Distinguished Lectureship Program Resources