Eighteenth Century

The West Indies

The term West Indies refers to what are better known today as the islands of the Caribbean, encompassing three major geographic subdivisions: the Greater Antilles (the large islands of Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola, and Puerto Rico), the Lesser Antilles (a group of much smaller islands including the Virgin Islands, Barbados, Grenada, Anguilla, and others), and the … Continue reading



Tea was very popular in the 18th century and became a European tradition similar to the modern coffee tradition of Americans today. Tea originated in Central Asia and comes in three basic types: black, green, and oolong. How the leaves are prepared determines which type it is, while oxidation creates its color, body, and flavor. … Continue reading

Eighteenth Century / Food and Culture / Robinson Crusoe

Foreign versus Familiar: Does Food Signify the World?

I am interested in considering  what Roland Barthes claimed food to do: “food sums up and transmits a situation: it constitute[s] an information: it signifies….One could say that an entire world…is present in and signified by food” (21).  Yet, in signifying the world, food, it seems, must first be familiar.  Upon first arriving, shipwrecked, in … Continue reading

Eighteenth Century / Robinson Crusoe

What is the nature of British identity?

“Thus from a Mixture of all Kinds began, That Heterogeneous Thing, An Englishman” –          The True Born Englishman Daniel Defoe declares in the preface to Robinson Crusoe that “the wonders of this man’s life exceed all that…is to be found extant; the life of one man being scarce capable of a greater variety”[1] – and … Continue reading