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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

where we get a research paper on Nano chemistry....?
Maira Reply
nanopartical of organic/inorganic / physical chemistry , pdf / thesis / review
what are the products of Nano chemistry?
Maira Reply
There are lots of products of nano chemistry... Like nano coatings.....carbon fiber.. And lots of others..
Even nanotechnology is pretty much all about chemistry... Its the chemistry on quantum or atomic level
no nanotechnology is also a part of physics and maths it requires angle formulas and some pressure regarding concepts
Preparation and Applications of Nanomaterial for Drug Delivery
Hafiz Reply
Application of nanotechnology in medicine
what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
ya I also want to know the raman spectra
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
yes that's correct
I think
Nasa has use it in the 60's, copper as water purification in the moon travel.
nanocopper obvius
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
analytical skills graphene is prepared to kill any type viruses .
Any one who tell me about Preparation and application of Nanomaterial for drug Delivery
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
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.
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit 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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