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C O U R S E 
A History of the World since 1300
Jeremy Adelman, Princeton University
C O U R S E   L E C T U R E 
18th Century Tea Trade, Leisure Time, and the Spread of Knowledge
Notes taken on August 21, 2014 by Edward Tanguay
17th century
spaces in Afro-Eurasia began to be filled in by competing empires
colonization of distant lands increased this velocity
particularly after:
1644 China: beginning of Qing dynasty
1648 Europe: signing of the Peace of Westphalia
regimes resolved inner conflicts, but this intensified the external conflicts with other empires
led to a shift in the way peoples saw each other
e.g. the product: tea
unique since it was a tropical commodity such as coffee or sugar, but its major source was not in the New World
only produced in a few places in Asia
China enjoyed for a time a monopoly in tea exports for global consumption
shipped out of China by Buddhist monks
they knew the characteristics of tea, e.g. to allow them to stay awake at night learning for their own ordination exams
they guarded the secrets of tea production very carefully
they controlled supply which insured that tea was not cheap, because a prestige good
by 18th century, tea exports in China were booming
one pound of tea was being imported to England per person
how is tea relevant in the way peoples saw each other:
to think like a global historian is to consider connections that at first may not seem like they have an obvious connection with each other
what was the connection between a tropical commodity like tea, and intellectual transformations that went on in another part of the world
tea was intimately related to the birth of leisure time
the tea house
like the coffee house, the tea house was accompanied by the gathering of men who exchanged the news of the day, read books, circulated magazines, and talked about ideas, discoveries, science, and other people and peoples
it was the tea house and the activities that went on inside and around it that was associated most closely with the birth of the public sphere, and from this forum will spring new ideas
one of these sets of ideas we call the Enlightenment and it was nurtured by the cocktail of these newly globally imported commodities of tea, and coffee and sugar
this widespread circulation of knowledge and ideas led to the concept of global science
areas such as China and India would be drawn increasingly into a European orbit
changed the core of Europe by creating new sources of wealth and power
the production of books
became articles that people would produce and sell in the market place
a press revolution
Diderot's encyclopedie
28 volumes
a phenomenon of the ages
the beginning of the mass production of books
the commodification and circulation of knowledge itself
division of labor to produce books
lowered the cost of magazines and books to fuel this print revolution
claimed to collect "all the knowledge scattered over the face of the earth"
book-lending clubs
now sailing voyages to the New World had a different purpose
not as de Gama in the late 15th century, to sail into Calcutta in order to skim the wealth off of another powerful society
18th century voyages were launched increasingly to study other places, biology, zoology and the peoples who who lived in those places
they were scientific expeditions to understand the world
to bring home knowledge for mass consumption and commodified
e.g. Captain James Cook
galvanized the European imagination as the heroic scientist
sponsored by the Royal Society
new species, exotic animals, plants, bugs
what the giraffe once was to Chinese, the kangaroo was to 18th century British biologists and zoologists
Cook also brought back people, natives, particularly in the South Pacific
ran into problems with Hawaii, where he tried to take local chieftains back but was attacked and killed by the local natives
Cook was only an example of a larger pattern of Europeans to reach out into the world and study it, to systematize knowledge and classify it into categories