Following her talk out our weekly colloquium, Dr. Sarah Besky discussed her book, The Darjeeling Distinction: Labor and Justice on Fair-Trade Tea Plantations in India, in Dr. Andrea Ballestero's Anthropological Theory class. Dr. Besky is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology and the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University. Her research interests include the environment, capitalism, and labor.
The book Dr. Andrea Ballestero's class discussed explores how legacies of colonialism intersect with contemporary market reforms to reconfigure notions of value—of labor, of place, and of tea itself. This ethnography of ethical and regionally distinct trade is set against the Gorkhaland movement, which calls for the creation of a separate Indian state that would encompass Darjeeling’s plantations and its majority of Indian Nepalis, or “Gorkhas.”
Dr. Besky's talk earlier in the day focused on her new book project, tentatively titled “The Cost of Cheap Tea,” which examines the tensions between technologies of neoliberal reform and middle-class masculinity among Indian tea brokers in Kolkata.
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