Call for Papers: International Colloquium – Tea & Coffee: Cultural Representations in Language and Practice

Université Lumières Lyon 2, France
24th – 25th Oct 2013

Organised by Terminology and Translation Research Center (Université Lyon 2)

The discovery of tea goes back to Chinese antiquity, and, according to Arab legends, Mohammed
was healed by coffee. Both drinks have centuries of history to show for. Today, carried into the four
corners of the world, these two are the drinks most frequently consumed daily, right after water (and
actually, there is quite a rivalry between them for the title). This geographic and historical pervasion
makes an inquiry into their cultural representations in language and practice seem fruitful.

Numerous scientific papers have already dealt with the impact of tea and coffee on our bodies, so
we would like to take a closer look at their description and appreciation as cultural objects in
different contexts. PR and marketing have strongly changed the image of tea and coffee: We now
talk of origins and growing areas, like with wine. And even if we do not yet use an official term like
‘oenology’ for tastings of tea and coffee, professional ‘tea-‘ or ‘coffee master’ slowly enter public
awareness. Publications that initiate us into this art are countless. But how do our eyes, our noses,
and our palates appreciate the same drink differently in the four corners of the world? What does the
terminology used during tastings, or for the description of these drinks, tell us about our perception,
or our conception of them?

Boiling, infusion, matcha, filter, piston, or percolation, in the privacy of our homes, or in public
places, the ways we consume tea and coffee have evolved enormously. We would be interested not
only in a description of each gesture, but also in their origins (cultural, economic, and
technological), as well as their perception in society.

It is thus that we would like to place these two drinks firmly back into their socio-cultural context.
How could tea and coffee conquer the world after their origins in the Orient (generally speaking)?
Associated with a Zen mind-set, or the signature drink of a rising bourgeoisie, what have these two
stimulants represented for different groups, and at different times? How do economic agents explore
these symbols, and do they, in turn, fashion our representations?

We wish for an interdisciplinary exchange between linguists, anthropologists, historians, literary
critics, but also professionals. Papers should preferably fall into one of three areas of interest:

1) Tastings: Procedures and terminology, especially from an anthropological, or linguistic angle, or
from the perspective of sensorial analysis. Interdisciplinary approaches would be most welcome.

2) Rituals and Symbols: Which rituals and symbols are part of our experience of tea and coffee?
How can we describe and interpret the ceremonies associated with these drinks? How do they
develop over time? What words are used to express them? How are they mediatised, amongst others
in commercial and advertising practice?

3) Exchange and Evolution: How are the practices of consumption of tea and coffee diffused in time
and space? How does this entail an evolution of practices? What is the role of marketing and
advertising in these processes?

Please send your abstracts of 200 – 350 words (in doc/x, odt, or pdf formats), together with a short
bio- and bibliographical note about yourself, to using as subject
heading “International Colloquium Tea & Coffee”.

Language: English, French

– Deadline for abstracts: Friday, May 10, 2013
– Notification of acceptance: End of June
– Registration: End of June

(Presentation of a paper is not required for registration.)

For any academic-related inquiries please contact the conference organizers:
Weiwei Guo (
Sylvain Farge (
Marie Laureillard (
A selection of the best papers will be published in an edited book.


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