Choose one of the prompts below for your first four-page essay on Greg Grandin’s Fordlandia. Include a combination of specific examples from the book and your analysis of that evidence in light of the prompt and what you’ve learned in the course so far.

Whichever prompt you choose, be sure to cite specific evidence from throughout the book. Neither of these questions can be adequately answered from a single chapter or passage. Your essay will be evaluated for its use of the entire book. You are welcome to refer to other course materials if that would be helpful to your argument, but this isn’t a requirement and shouldn’t crowd out your focus on Fordlandia. Use of online sources is not allowed.

Make sure that you include a thesis statement in your essay’s introduction. Also be sure that your conclusion and your introduction are consistent with the thesis you’re advancing. Papers must use footnoted, Chicago Style citations. They must also be in 12 point Times New Roman font, double-spaced, with one-inch margins on all sides. I take “page” to mean a full page.

1. On page 97 of Fordlandia, Grandin writes that the rapid drop in the price of rubber on the global market during Fordlandia’s planning stages suggests,the logic pushing Ford to the Amazon had moved beyond the laws of supply and demand.” Ford’s own advisers recommended he simply open a rubber purchasing office in the Amazon and avoid the plantation idea altogether. If Fordlania lacked a clear economic rationale, why was the Ford Motor Company so driven to throw its financing, resources, manpower, and reputation into the project – even after the plantation began to fail and then kept on failing?

2. Was Fordlandia ultimately defeated by forces emanating from Dearborn (Henry Ford’s idiosyncratic worldview, Fordist production strategies, Ford Company representatives like Einar Oxholm, etc.) or by the plantation itself (the resistance of the region’s workforce, interventions of Brazilian media and politics, the Amazon’s ecology, etc.)? Does Grandin do an adequate job of balancing the top-down and bottom-up factors that contributed to Fordlandia’s downfall?

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