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Assistant Professor, Anthropology; Michigan Society of Fellows
101 West Hall, 1085 S. University Ave., Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1107
Office Location(s): 230-D West Hall
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Sarah’s research asks how internationally regulated social and environmental certification programs have informed the ways in which tea workers, brokers, and consumers construct both a product, Darjeeling tea, and a place, the Darjeeling district of West Bengal, India. She follows debates about environmental and social justice from fair trade and organic tea plantations and cooperatives, to international NGOs, and into an increasingly tense struggle of Indian Nepalis, or Gorkhas, in the region to form an independent state, Gorkhaland.
Sarah is currently working on a book manuscript, In the Market for Justice: Fair Trade, Tea Production, and the 21st Century Plantation in Darjeeling, India, which investigates the extension of fair trade certification to plantations. This book asks how the plantation – a colonially-rooted unequal land tenure system, in which laborers are tied to the land on which they live and work – has been remade as palatable and consumable in an age of ethical trade. The book shows how labor standards, taste, rights to place, and the legacies of colonialism have all informed the production of boutique Darjeeling tea and the revitalization of the tea worker-driven Gorkhaland movement. Along the way, the book traces the contending meanings of “justice” in an era of trade liberalization, the retreat of the state from environmental and social welfare, and increased consumer consciousness about the conditions of food production.
101 West Hall1085 S. University Ave.
Ann Arbor, Michigan