Katharine Burnett Pursuing All Things Tea at UC Davis

By Laurie Greene, Founding Editor

Katharine Burnett wears many academic hats at UC Davis: associate professor and co-chair of the Department of Art and Art History; director, East Asian Studies Program; and founding faculty director, Global Tea Initiative for the Study of Tea Culture and Science. In this last endeavor, Burnett is spearheading UC Davis’s global, intellectual and cultural exploration of tea, including hosting its annual tea symposium and researching the possibility of growing tea here in California.

“We started in 2012 as an idea and a research cluster called ‘All Things Tea,’ ” Burnett said. “After a couple years of working and pushing forward with support from the community, we broached the topic of an initiative to the Ralph Hexter, UC Davis provost and executive vice chancellor. The Provost gave us his blessing and said, ‘Make it blossom.’”

“And, so our initiative was born,” Burnett explained. “The recent 2018 Global Tea Initiative Symposium, the program’s third symposium, commemorates our third year of being an initiative. We are gradually transitioning from an initiative into an actual institute.”

Burnett foresees the institute’s role as, “to tell the story of tea and all its dimensions. It will encourage tea research in any discipline, any field, any approach, including both interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research and teaching. We want to develop a curriculum for our undergraduates and graduate students and also develop international partnerships so that we can conduct faculty and student exchanges.”

To hear Katharine Burnett tell the story of the Tea Initiative at UC Davis click here: goo.gl/bf7svf