Tea, colonialism and labour


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This week we're joined by anthropologist Dr. Sarah Besky of Cornell University to discuss the colonial history of tea and the people who produce it. Her research uses ethnographic and historical methods to study the intersection of inequality, nature, and capitalism.

Her work on tea plantation and labour is focused on the Darjeeling and surrounding areas in NE India, and in the Himalayan region more broadly.

This is part one of a two-part series on tea. In our next episode, we will focus on the role that tea plays in our cultures, communities and identities.

The book referred to in the episode: The Darjeeling Distinction

Her most recent book: How Nature Works: Rethinking Labor on a Troubled Planet