Final Abstract for URS Program
Violence. Nationalism. Racism. A community ripped apart by multinational corporations. These are likely not the words and ideas associated with bananas. However, in Costa Rica and other South American countries, these words only begin to describe the history surrounding this fruit. Community. Fair Trade. Globalization. A nation brought together by a simple drink. These words all describe none other than our beloved drink coffee. Costa Rica relies heavily on the exports of coffee and this crop has actually helped produce an entire subculture, known as café cultura, which promotes community and belonging. But why are these two crops vastly different, despite each being extremely prominent in Costa Rica and Latin America? This research aims to explore the history surrounding both crops, analyze the communities they foster, and to compare the similarities and explain the differences between them. The research reviews and analyzes research articles, first-hand accounts, semi-autobiographical novels, and interview data to dive into themes of sustainability, nationalism, exploitation, environmentalism, and so much more surrounding the banana and coffee cultures in Costa Rica.