Making the leap: commodity chains and the potential for global environmental histories of capitalism


  • Jack Bouchard Rutgers University New Brunswick



This article is a brief response to Leonardo Marques’ essay “Commodity Chains and the Global Environmental History of the Colonial Americas.” It focuses on the practical and theoretical limitations of commodity-chain histories as away to address our political and environmental moment. It argues that commodity-chain histories must overcome the complexity of their subjects, and leap the theoretical gap between local and global scales without losing sight of nature. To do so, the article advocates for more work by environmental historians, and a focus on transformation rather than commodity flows.


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