Friday, October 16, 2015
McKinney Conference Room
Sarah Besky is an assistant professor of anthropology and international and public affairs. She received her PhD in anthropology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. From 2012 to 2015, she was a postdoctoral fellow in the Society of Fellows at the University of Michigan, where she completed a project based on fieldwork in Darjeeling, India. Her book, The Darjeeling Distinction: Labor and Justice on Fair-Trade Tea Plantations in India (University of California Press, 2014) explores how legacies of colonialism intersect with contemporary market reforms to reconfigure notions of value—of labor, of place, and of tea itself. The book sets moves by the tea industry for fair trade certification and WTO Geographical Indication status against the backdrop of the Gorkhaland movement, which calls for the creation of a separate Indian state that would encompass Darjeeling’s plantations and its majority of Indian Nepalis, or Gorkhas. The Darjeeling Distinction won the 2014 Society for Economic Anthropology Book Prize.