Working the Rural-Urban Divide


Alexander F. Day is not only an avid consumer of Chinese tea, he has taken up this plant, product, and production system as the subject for his forthcoming book. Situated in Meitan county in Guizhou province—the county that currently boasts the largest planted area of tea in China—his research traces the interplay of tea, labor, and political economy and the shift from household production to industrialisation from the 1920s to the present. Day combines archival research and fieldwork, making regular trips to Meitan, where he collaborates with local tea historians. His work connects the past and the present, and provides insights into how studying the contemporary period sheds light on earlier periods and vice versa. The following is a lightly edited version of our interview about Alexander’s current book project.
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