Coca-Cola in Chinese History

Now online with Diplomatic History, my latest article: “More than Just a Soft Drink: Coca-Cola and China’s Early Reform and Opening.”

This was a fun one to write. It brought my research into a new period of Chinese history (the reform era) and allowed me to approach US-China relations and Chinese politics from a novel angle. I am inspired to delve more into the history of consumer culture and food and drink in modern China and how these facets of life intersect with politcs and diplomacy.

Alert readers may recall that the seeds for this article were first planted on September 20, 2015, in a blog post titled “This Coke’s Not For You.” It turns out that oddball archival finds that distracted from the real prize (I spent a few precious dissertation research days mining sources for this article) can lead to something CV-worthy.

More on the biography of this article. I found the key archival records in autumn 2015 in Shanghai, returned to the US in 2016 and tracked down published sources and related secondary literature, and prepared a conference paper in June 2016. I sent a revised version of the article to China Quarterly not long after, and was rejected due to the very unflattering comments of one reviewer. After nursing my wounds, I sent the article to Diplomatic History and received favorable reviews from three individuals. I had to do two rounds of revisions before the editors finally signed off. Good things take time.

 

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