“Tea and Trade at the Heart of Sino-Tibetan Relations” - Confucius Institute of Rutgers University (CIRU)
Confucius Institute of Rutgers University (CIRU)
Lecture Series Fall 2017
“Tea and Trade at the Heart of Sino-Tibetan Relations”
Prof. Patrick Booz
Pennsylvania State University
Wednesday, November 8th, 2017 at 4:30 p.m.
Alexander Library (4th Floor)
169 College Ave, New Brunswick, NJ
Patrick Booz was born in Beirut, grew up in South Asia and Indonesia then attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In 1979 he went to Kunming, Yunnan as part of the first group of Americans to teach in China since 1949. After working as an editor and publisher of books on East Asia and the Himalayan regions, Booz then completed a Ph.D. at Oxford University in 2012 on the role of the tea trade in the complicated relationship between China and Tibet. Specializing in geography, transport, commodity exchange, trade routes, and labor, Booz has most recently taught for three years in the history department at Pennsylvania State University.
Abstract: Between China and Tibet there runs a broad, north-south transitional zone that extends from Inner Mongolia to Burma. This complex region of jumbled mountains, high plateaus, and river gorges has been the main area of contact in the long historical intertwining of Tibet and China. Trade has been a driving force in this relationship, and at its core stood tea. During the past thousand years, the Chinese side – which grew, processed, packaged and controlled the commodity – constantly sought better and more efficient methods of transport, developing the so-called Tea-Horse Routes (chama gudao) and relying on a seemingly inexhaustible supply of impoverished men (and women and children) who carried up to 400 lbs. of brick tea on their backs. This talk will explore not only the commerce, but also the politics and social exchange facilitated by the Sino-Tibetan tea trade