Golden-Silk Smoke: A Social and Cultural History of Tobacco Consumption in China, 1550-2000


Library of Congress Fellowships in International Studies


School of Foreign Service & Department of History


This study--a social and cultural history of tobacco smoking in China from its introduction in the mid-sixteenth century to the present--seeks to analyze the factors that have shaped Chinese tobacco use over the longue duree while also contributing to an emerging historiography of Chinese consumerism. It illuminates socially stratified and changing patterns of smoking in China even as it documents the on-going value of tobacco as a gift commodity with social significance that extends well beyond commercial transactions. The research--to be published by the University of California Press--sheds light on a number of themes in the history of China's material culture, its interactions with the outside world, changing ideas about gender, generation, and class, and enduring values of hospitality.