Coffee Cup
Introduction Methodology My Method Object
Proposal Bibliography Footnotes Analysis

Proposal for Further Research



The Women's Petition Against Coffee, London circa 1674. From Pendergrast, Mark. Uncommon Grounds: The History of Coffee and How it Transformed Our World. (New York: Basic Books, 1999), 138-139.

Original Starbucks Logo. From Pendergrast, Mark. Uncommon Grounds: The History of Coffee and How it Transformed Our World. (New York: Basic Books, 1999).

Starbucks logo. From scanned image of disposable coffee cup.

A number of avenues for research have emerged out of this preliminary study. Below I have noted where my research is lacking thus far, as well as some questions and hypothesis that need to be researched further.



  • Other sources more directly related to my topic are necessary. A Canadian focus may help to narrow down the topic.

  • More cups need to be examined, particularly a wider variety of commercial coffee cups to determine if there are differences between them. If so, what does this reflect? Marketing? Expense? Catering to different clientele?

  • The logos and advertising located on coffee cups should be examined. I am interested to know if they reflect any gender biases. See, for example, the Starbucks logo. What does a mermaid have to do with coffee? Note how the current logo differs from the earlier one. (Images on the left.)

  • Considerations of advertising may lead nicely into a gender analysis. As is evident from my bibliography, a significant amount of research has been devoted to coffee and the erotica, or the consuming of coffee as a sexualized past time. In all the images used as evidence in these arguments, the coffee is rarely seen; rather the cup represents the coffee. This may be interesting to explore further.

  • I have noted that the coffee cup is a vessel that can be used to carry any material that can fit inside. Its use as an aid in the consumption of coffee is derived from verbal and normative associations. For the moment, it seems that McCracken's theory is correct. The meaning of the objectseems to derive from the culturally constituted world. This should be researched further.

  • I would like to research the origin of the coffee cup in order to delineate its history.

  • Are there differences between tea and coffee cups?

  • From a cursory look at various paintings and drawings, I have noticed that the basic design of the coffee cup has not changed until the recent invention of the commercial cup. Until now, the coffee cup always resembled a bowl, or a bowl with a handle. The contemporary jar-like design on the commercial cup seems to be a result of the need for transportability and the consumption of coffee "on the go". Several articles in my annotated bibliography verify this fact.

  • This may lead to conclusions about the influence of the coffee cup on the location of coffee consumption. I noted in my object analysis that the blue mug and yellow cup were designed for domestic consumption. Can coffee cups be domestic items? Are the commercial cups then, in effect, public coffee cups?

Coffee Cup
Introduction Methodology My Method Object
Proposal Bibliography Footnotes Analysis