Date of Award

6-8-2018

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in History and University Honors

Department

History

First Advisor

Joseph Bohling

Subjects

Tea -- History, Tea -- Social aspects -- History, Imperialism -- Social aspects -- History, Great Britain -- History -- 17th-19th centuries, Great Britain -- Colonies -- Administration

DOI

10.15760/honors.692

Abstract

In some regards, drinking tea has always been considered a British pastime. But, where, when, and how did tea hold of the nation to such an extent that a once considered Aristocratic luxury import became part of the commoner’s palate? Crucially, empire-building and nation-building have been mutually reinforcing for Britain, and tea is the lens through which one can understand the development of the imperial British nation-state. Tea became an entrenched symbol of British identity on both the national and imperial levels through a multiplicity of forces and actors. This thesis intends to prove that tea, through production and consumption methods, influenced conceptions of Britishness. In addition, this work will reveal the results of Britain imposing capitalism on the world, such as with its India colony, and explain that there are consequences largely unknown to the consumer when markets become separated from the rest of human activity (thus creating a broken ‘Wallersteinian’ commodity chain. This analysis presents a new approach to understanding the transformational seventeenth to nineteenth centuries which Britons deepened awareness of their roles in the global economy. Overall, even though tea is not such an innocent commodity due to its aggressive production methods, tea significantly contributed to Britishness at home and abroad.

Persistent Identifier

https://archives.pdx.edu/ds/psu/28723

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