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165. Global Tea Initiatives: Horticultural Practice and Gastronomical Perspectives in Tea History. Sponsored by UC Davis Global Tea Initiative

Fri, March 17, 5:15 to 7:15pm, Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel, 2nd Floor, Simcoe

Session Submission Type: Organized Panel

Abstract

As world historians have narrated, tea, along with silk and porcelain, played an integral role in defining imperial China as a crucial node within an early modern network of global trade. Indeed, the imperial edict written in response to Lord Macartney’s 1792 request for economic privileges specified tea as one of three key products in China’s manufacturing advantage. This panel extends this global line of inquiry to the study of tea by broadening the definition of tea beyond its botanical nomenclature of camellia sinensis and beyond its status as an economic commodity. Recognizing tea’s global import, the panel seeks an expanded historical geography of tea by turning an eye to methods taken from histories of art, environment, food science and literary studies. In so doing, the papers together shift historical narratives of tea from an emphasis on tea as consumption to tea as a dynamic force, steeping in flows of social and cultural networks, itself constitutive of individual and collective identities.

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