cod. 1011890

Academic year 2023/24
1° year of course - Second semester
- Benedetta Maria CRIVELLI
Academic discipline
Storia economica (SECS-P/12)
A scelta dello studente
Type of training activity
Student's choice
28 hours
of face-to-face activities
4 credits
hub: PARMA
course unit

Learning objectives

a) Knowledge and Understanding
The student will have the opportunity to learn and understand the processes of global raw material exchange, analyzing complex phenomena such as globalization and value chains in the historical perspective.
b) Application of Knowledge and Understanding
The student will be able to apply what they have learned to better understand the complexity of phenomena related to trade from the early modern era to the present day. They will be capable of evaluating economic dynamics and developing a critical analysis of influential factors that characterize their evolution.
d) Communicative Skills
The student will acquire a lexical and conceptual foundation essential for the education and communication of a master's student in economic issues.
e) Learning Skills
The student will experience an innovative teaching method, centered on classroom discussion and critical analysis of scientific texts.



Course unit content


With the circulation of news and price fluctuations, markets have always been at the center of economic and political life and major drivers of globalization. For centuries, ports and marketplaces have been crossed by commodities, whose possession and the ability to control their trade have played a central role in the economic history of many countries.

Starting from the early modern period, following geographical discoveries, exotic products that could only be harvested and extracted in specific ecological niches spread globally. With the spread of industrialization, the phenomenon of urbanization, and the population growth in Western Europe, countries on the old world increasingly turned abroad for the purchase of foodstuffs and raw materials. Finally, the production of primary products tripled in the period 1880-1913, representing almost two-thirds of global trade on the eve of the First World War.

The course aims to address, from a historical perspective that takes into account a broad time span (from the early modern period to the present day), the distribution and trade of essential agricultural products. The objective is to examine the value chains associated with these products and illustrate the peculiarities of changes over time, international variations, and the different effects within producing and consuming countries. The product-based approach shows that there is not a single global market but myriad segmented markets that are constantly evolving. Participants in each value chain develop logics based on a range of conditions, altering the nature of relationships and exchanges based on technological innovations and ecological constraints.

Full programme

- - -


The reference texts for the exam will be provided by the instructor during the course of the lessons

Teaching methods

The course includes lectures by the instructor and seminars where students will be asked (after a dedicated lesson providing methodological foundations) to discuss one or more scientific papers that require prior reading. The materials used during the lessons will be published on the Elly portal.

Assessment methods and criteria

Knowledge and understanding will be assessed through an oral test. The questions are designed to measure learning ability and the ability to make interdisciplinary connections. Active participation in the lessons, including reading and discussing scientific papers provided by the instructor, will be evaluated for the determination of the final grade (this component will account for 25% of the final grade).

The final grade of 30 cum laude will be achieved when all parts of the exam (class participation and oral exam) demonstrate excellence in terms of completeness, clarity, brilliance, liveliness, and organization of responses, as well as the ability to make multidisciplinary connections.

Other information

Any additional readings and optional activities will be communicated through the Elly platform.