The Centring and Decentring of Wales and the Welsh Language
‘Welsh tea’ is a curiously empty formulation, unless we look into particular historical contexts in which tea came to acquire metaculturally indexical values. In this chapter I examine photographic data representing two diasporic scenarios: texts from a Welsh-American community newspaper published in the USA in the nineteenth century advertising ‘Welsh tea’; and signs promoting ‘Welsh tea houses’ in contemporary Patagonia. The Welshness of tea reflects how the Welsh language and cultural Welshness were repositioned in each of these (post-)colonial settings. Tea symbolized a morally ‘proper’ variety of Welshness in the New World; in Patagonia it provides a focus for a Welsh-themed heritage tourism ritual. The Welsh language and tea are ceremonialized in either case, but very differently, reflecting shifting centre/periphery relations when Welsh people and texts have been globally mobile.
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