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Material Identity: The Anthropology of Chinese Tea Culture

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  • SSHRC Awarded IG 2013: This program of research explores the revival of tea culture and tea arts in contemporary China and promotion of that culture through commerce, education, museum exhibits, invented rituals, and the global network of Confucius Institutes. The study of tea culture as a form of material identity offers a lens on change in contemporary China, including the upsurge of regional identities, the impact of foreign investment and tourism on local communities, and the importance of not only of government programs but also commerce as a force in materializing regional and national cultural identities. The research will focus on three major themes: 1. The resurgence of interest in Chinese specialty teas and tea arts in Fujian and Zhejiang Provinces, and public and private support for this resurgence in formal programs of education; 2. The role of historical legends, rituals, and the performing arts in promoting regional forms of tea culture in Zhejiang and Fujian Provinces, including modern interpretations of Chan (Zen) Buddhist tea culture; 3. The globalization of Chinese tea culture through both international commerce and the Confucius Institutes, which are widely promoting Chinese language and arts, including tea arts, in a program of cultural diplomacy

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    Research Material
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    © DeBernardi, Jean. All rights reserved other than by permission. This document embargoed to those without UAlberta CCID until 2021.