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From one particular case—cocaine—we can draw a few epistemological and transhistorical links.

The story of cocaine starts with Erythroxylum coca , the coca plant. See Dominic Streatfeild, Cocaine: An Unauthorized Biography (New York: Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press, 2001), 2ff. (Cocaine the alkaloid, the derivative first extracted from coca leaves in 1860, has a different history, which I will bracket for a moment.) Coca is an innocuous-looking plant, growing in small shrubby bushes to a height of four to six feet in wet, humid areas. It flourishes mainly on the eastern slopes of the Andes throughout the region stretching along the western side of South America from Colombia down through Peru to Bolivia and reaching as far east as the first stages of the Amazon Basin (ibid., 3). The historical heart of the coca region is the Peruvian montaña and the Bolivian yungas .

This story begins well before the sixteenth century, when the Spanish invaders of Ancient Peru were impressed by the Incans’ regular use of the coca leaf. Studies have dated this beginning to about 20,000 years ago, when hunting and gathering groups first moved into the central Andes of South America. See Joseph Kennedy, Coca Exotica: The Illustrated Story of Cocaine (Cranbury, NJ–London: Associated University Press/Cornwall Books, 1985), 13-19; Tim Madge, White Mischief: A Cultural History of Cocaine (New York: Thunder’s Mouth Press, 2001), 23. Coca could hardly have been overlooked if these groups conducted a rudimentary testing of plants by tasting the leaves, which would have shown coca could numb the sting of a cut lip or reduce toothache pain. Those gatherers also became aware that coca could be chewed to increase physical energy and mental alertness, and to fight hunger and cold; infused to remedy stomach disorders; and employed to ward off parasites. Some of the earliest direct archaeological evidence of coca leaf use dates to 2500-3000 B.C., both to the ceramic lime pots and figurines of coca chewers (with cheeks bulging on one side) linked to the Valdiva culture on the coast of Ecuador and to the Asia I cemetery site on the south-central coast (Peru), where bodies were wrapped with mats that held personal belongings, including snuff trays, tubes, and bags filled with coca and powdered lime. The presence of lime indicates that users knew the leaves would yield their greatest effects when chewed in combination with an alkaline powder, See Kennedy, Coca Exotica , 15; Streatfeild, Cocaine , 4, 11. meaning that experimentation "with the leaf" must have taken place even earlier and that chewing coca was already part of an ongoing social practice.

Joseph Kennedy, writing about coca use in public ceremonial gatherings conducted by shamans in La Florida, the first urban center in Peru, states that “coca was a firmly established part of Peruvian life at least 2,000 years before the birth of Christ,” Kennedy, Coca Exotica , 16. when nomadic hunting and gathering had almost completely disappeared. It was here that—together with extensive settlements and agricultural activities—trade networks developed, facilitating the flow of goods and services across the Andes. By this time, coca was high on the list of those items taken from the eastern slopes across the Amazon Basin and toward the Pacific coast. As Rivera Cusicanqui has emphasized and as Taussig remarks in his book on shamanism and colonialism, See Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui, Las fronteras de la coca: Epistemologías coloniales y circuitos alternativos de la hoja de coca (La Paz: Universidad Mayor de San Andrés/Ediciones Aruwiyiri, 2003); Michael Taussig, Shamanism, Colonialism, and the Wild Man: A Study in Terror and Healing (Chicago–London: University of Chicago Press, 1987). ancient trade routes constituted mobile transcontinental frontiers, serving as zones of formal and informal exchange of foods, herbs, medicines, magical practices, and other services, successively reactivated in the course of the last millennia. Alternately combated and appropriated by Christian missionaries and trading companies, and intercepted and overridden by colonial and later national borders, they have constituted zones of movement and conflict up to the present. These residually persistent trade routes represent a kind of submerged yet active global contact zone. Informal globalization thus started thousands of years ago.

Questions & Answers

Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
for screen printed electrodes ?
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
or in general
in general
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
On having this app for quite a bit time, Haven't realised there's a chat room in it.
what is biological synthesis of nanoparticles
Sanket Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Emerging disciplines: shaping new fields of scholarly inquiry in and beyond the humanities. OpenStax CNX. May 13, 2010 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11201/1.1
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