Alan Crawford is a postdoctoral researcher at Shanghai Jiaotong University. Prior to arriving at STJU he taught at Bristol University in the UK, where he completed a PhD in history, and at NYU Shanghai as a Global Perspectives on Society teaching fellow. He is currently working on a book manuscript on Russian concessions in Hankou and Tianjin before 1917, and beginning a new project on Russian commerce and shipping in East Asia in the 19th century.
「 The Tea Trade with China in Russian Imperial Imaginaries (19th/early 20th centuries) 」
This paper will examine aspects of the organisation and representation of the Russian Empire’s trade in tea in the second half of the nineteenth century. Access to the treaty ports of China from 1860 allowed Russian tea traders to begin transporting their goods by sea, through the Indian Ocean and, after it opened, the Suez Canal. However, the older cross-border trade was maintained, largely for geopolitical reasons. I suggest that the ways in which these two routes were represented interacted with processes of identity formation and the production of space, primarily through comparison with other empires. The tea trade through these two different environments was thus a mechanism by which transnational circulations of both ideas and commodities contributed to the imagined geography of Russian imperialism.