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Pop the kettle on and sit back for our first 'tea' themed episode! For this episode, Matt invited Michael Dunford, a PhD Candidate in Anthropology at ANU whose research explores labour, language, and tea in Myanmar, to join him in conversation with Sarah Besky and Mythri Jegathesan. Sarah Besky is a cultural anthropologist and Associate Professor in the International Labour and Labour Relations School at Cornell University. Her research uses ethnographic and historical methods to study the intersection of labor, environment, and capitalism in the Himalayas. Her work analyzes how materials and bodies take on value under changing political economic regimes and explores the diverse forms of labor that make and maintain that value. Her first book, The Darjeeling Distinction: Labor and Justice on Fair-Trade Tea Plantations in India (University of California Press, 2014) explores how legacies of colonialism intersect with contemporary market reforms to reconfigure notions of the value of labor, of place, and of tea itself. Her second book, Tasting Qualities: The Past and Future of Tea (University of California Press, 2020) blends historical and ethnographic research on science, value, and the idea of quality in the tea industry to analyze efforts at economic reform in India. Another book, How Nature Works: Rethinking Labor on a Troubled Planet (SAR Press, 2019), a volume co-edited with Alex Blanchette, brings together contemporary theoretical conversations in posthumanism with classic and continually relevant questions about political economy, precarity, and the meanings of work. Sarah’s new research explores the intersections of agricultural extension and experimentation, colonial and postcolonial governance, and the everyday productive and reproductive work of farming in the Himalayan region of Kalimpong, West Bengal. Mythri Jegathesan is a cultural anthropologist and Assistant Professor in Anthropology at Santa Clara University. Her research focuses on gender, labor, minority politics, and development in the Global South, and has explored the social and economic experiences of Tamil women tea plantation residents and workers in Sri Lanka, where she has conducted field research since 2005. She is currently researching the first women's trade union in Sri Lanka, the dynamics of transnational organizing across formal and informal employment sectors, and the changing development practices of local NGOs in postwar Sri Lanka. She holds a PhD in Cultural Anthropology from Columbia University and has received grants from the National Science Foundation, American Association for University Women, and American Institute for Sri Lankan Studies. Her first book 'Tea & Solidarity: Tamil Women and Work in Postwar Sri Lanka', published in 2019 by the University of Washington Press, was awarded the Diana Forsythe Prize by the Society for the Anthropology of Work.