How did an activity as mundane as tea preparation and drinking become one of the potent symbols of Japan? This talk will explore the tension-filled transformation of the tea ceremony from an aesthetic pleasure of elite men to a hobby of housewives as it came to embrace not merely the privileged few, but the nation as a whole, and it will examine the ways that tea masters have capitalized on the association between tea and Japanese culture. The tea ceremony, as such, serves as an exceptionally vivid illustration of one of the fundamental processes of modernity: the work of making nations.
Kristin Surak is an Associate Professor of Japanese Politics at SOAS, University of London who specializes in international migration, nationalism, culture, and globalization. Her book Making Tea, Making Japan: Cultural Nationalism in Practice was recently named the Outstanding Book of the Year by the American Sociological Association’s Section on Asia.
Please join us for a special Tea Ceremony Demonstration at 4 pm in Room 2609.
Kristin Surak, Associate Professor of Japanese Politics, SOAS, University of London