Athenaeum & 18th Century Worlds – Annual Workshop

Coffee, Tea and Chocolate: Fuelling Modernity

Postgraduate and Early Career Researcher Workshop

Liverpool Athenaeum

4th – 6th June 2015

Timings to be confirmed


The annual joint workshop of the Athenaeum and 18th Century Worlds Study Group if to take place on 4 – 6 June 2015.  Proprietors and members of the Friends of the Library will be very welcome at the inaugural lecture by Professor Ellis and also to join the workshops.

If you wish to participate please inform Prof Rosenhaft on

This two day workshop will be hosted in the Library of the Liverpool Athenaeum, founded in 1797 to provide ‘the conveniences and accommodation for the acquisition of knowledge…in a town of such commercial and national importance as Liverpool’.

This year’s topic is ‘Coffee, tea and chocolate: Fuelling modernity’.  The workshop will be introduced by a public lecture delivered by Professor Markman Ellis, entitled     ‘A Most Civilizing Juice’: Tea between China and Britain in the eighteenth century.


Given the centrality of these new commodities to the structuring of everyday life, commercial relations and sensory economies in the long eighteenth century, we anticipate and want to encourage a decidedly interdisciplinary conversation. Topics for discussion might include;

  • The social and cultural manifestations of the consumption of new luxury food products
  • Their legal regulation
  • Discourses about danger (physical and moral) and pleasure
  • The global contexts and impacts of their production, carriage, refinement and marketing
  • Sweetness and slavery
  • Material cultures: furniture, ceramics, metal ware
  • Visual and literary representations
  • Sociability, conversation and their loci: the coffee house and the tea-table

Case studies are invited from all periods within the long eighteenth century, all disciplines and all national contexts, and papers that offer a global view of a global process will be welcome.

The workshop will include an opportunity to examine the material cultures of consumption in a visit to the Decorative Arts Collection of the National Museums Merseyside, led by Dr Pauline Rushton, as well as chances to explore the built heritage of a premier merchant city of the eighteenth century.

This workshop has been generously funded by the School of Histories, Languages and Cultures at the University of Liverpool, the Social History Society and the Economic History Society. As a result,


For further information, or to submit a proposal, please contact Helga Müllneritsch Proposals (accompanied as appropriate by a bursary request in the form of a letter that includes the contact details of your supervisor) should be submitted by 1st MAY 2015.