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28 October 2015

Tea Politics and Propaganda in the American Revolution, 1773-1776

Dr.James Fichter

Date: 28 October 2015 (Wed)
Time: 4:30pm- 6:00pm
Venue: Room 4.36, Run Run Shaw Tower, Centennial Campus HKU

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In 1773 and 1774, opposing tea became an iconic form of radical opposition to Parliament, seen most clearly in the Boston Tea Party and the common refrain that tea merchants and tea drinkers were “enemies of America.” For radicals, tea had unique symbolic value. Yet by 1776, tea was once again a political correct drink. What had happened? This talk considers the revolutionary politics of tea from 1773 to 1776, focusing on the gap between radicals’ anti-tea rhetoric and the reality of colonists’ continued behavior of tea consumption. The gap between women’s lived experiences and gendered Patriot discourses and between prohibitionists fearmongering around tea purported health risks and tea’s continued use as folk medicine will received particular attention.

James Fichter is an associate professor in European studies and is affiliated with the American studies program. He is completing a book manuscript, Tea’s Party: The Politics of a Consumer Good, 1773-1776.

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