Humanities Washington program to spotlight history, culture of sugar

Humanities Washington speaker Julia Harrison presents “Sticky Subject: The History and Culture of Sugar” at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 28, on Zoom, part of Humanities Washington’s Speakers Bureau series.

Registration is required to receive a login; register at or by contacting a North Olympic Library System branch.

“Once a rare, exotic ingredient, sugar has become a dietary staple, leaving its sticky fingerprints all over the globe,” program organizers say.

Harrison, an anthropologist and sweets expert, takes participants on a journey from ancient sugar cane plantations to modern candy factories, uncovering sugar’s economic and social significance. From slavery and mass migration to environmental changes and nutrition, the consequences of sugar’s rise are global — and not always sweet.

Harrison’s projects include a multimedia online map of bakeries, desserts and candy-makers around Puget Sound. She received a master’s degree in applied anthropology from Macquarie University and spent two years studying material culture theory and methodology at University College London.

The Humanities Washington program is designed to spark “conversation and critical thinking using story as a catalyst, nurturing thoughtful and engaged communities across the state.” Speakers Bureau is one of Humanities Washington’s oldest and most popular programs, with a roster of 34 cultural experts and scholars providing low-cost, high-quality public presentations across the state that encourage audiences to think, learn and engage in conversation.

For more about Speakers Bureau, visit

For more information about this program and to register, visit and select “Events,” call 360-417-8500 or email to

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