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Gendered Chocolate Mythologies: From Montezuma to Plain Mr York

journal contribution
posted on 2021-02-08, 01:32 authored by Emma RobertsonEmma Robertson
Chocolate remains a source of fascination in Western culture. It has become so imbued with symbolic meaning, so mysterious in its hold over consumers, that even purportedly scientific studies find it hard to detach themselves from the gendered, often sexualized and racialized mythologies surrounding the commodity. In my own research, I wanted to understand how these mythologies of chocolate production and consumption came to exist, and how they have circulated, specifically in relation to the chocolate industry of my own home city of York. My encounter with the Latin American region thus came not through any existing expertise, but through exoticized imperial tales of Spanish “conquest” and “discovery.” From Montezuma to Plain Mr. York, chocolate fictions have too often rendered invisible women’s productive labor and agency at every stage of the chocolate commodity chain.


Year of publication, exhibition or creation


Type of creative work

  • Textual creative work

Genre of textual creative work

  • Essay or article

Title of host publication

ReVista: Harvard Review of Latin America

Publisher or exhibiting gallery

The David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, Harvard University

Place of publication, exhibition, or creation

Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA


Fall 2020 XX






Online nagazine

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