What We Are Reading Today: A Thirst for Empire by Erika Rappaport

Updated 12 February 2019
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What We Are Reading Today: A Thirst for Empire by Erika Rappaport

  • Rappaport delves into how Europeans adopted, appropriated, and altered Chinese tea culture to build a widespread demand for tea in Britain and other global markets

Tea has been one of the most popular commodities in the world. Over centuries, profits from its growth and sales funded wars and fueled colonization, and its cultivation brought about massive changes — in land use, labor systems, market practices, and social hierarchies — the effects of which are with us even today. A Thirst for Empire takes a vast and in depth historical look at how men and women — through the tea industry in Europe, Asia, North America, and Africa — transformed global tastes and habits and in the process created our modern consumer society.

As Erika Rappaport shows, between the 17th and 20th centuries the boundaries of the tea industry and the British Empire overlapped but were never identical, and she highlights the economic, political, and cultural forces that enabled the British Empire to dominate — but never entirely control — the worldwide production, trade, and consumption of tea. Rappaport delves into how Europeans adopted, appropriated, and altered Chinese tea culture to build a widespread demand for tea in Britain and other global markets and a plantation-based economy in South Asia and Africa. 

Tea was among the earliest colonial industries in which merchants, planters, promoters, and retailers used imperial resources to pay for global advertising and political lobbying.


Nicole Scherzinger proves she’s just like every other tourist with this iconic Dubai snap

Updated 25 March 2019
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Nicole Scherzinger proves she’s just like every other tourist with this iconic Dubai snap

  • The singer performed for the Abu Dhabi Special Olympics, where more than 7,500 athletes took part
  • Scherzinger's aunt has Down Syndrome

DUBAI: Dubai is one of the region’s most popular tourist hubs and there’s one photograph that eager visitors scramble to snap when they touch down in the city of gold — a shot of them standing in front of the iconic Burj Khalifa.

Visitor from the furthest reaches of the globe can always be seen striking a pose — or 20 — in front of the tallest building in the world before posting the coveted snap online.

Singer Nicole Scherzinger joined the legions of travelers who have posted similar shots on their social media feeds and took to Instagram this week with a collection of snaps of herself standing in front of a glittering Burj Khalifa at night.

The performer wore a black-and-white striped crop top with a matching tiered maxi skirt, complete with frilled layers.

She visited Dubai after performing in the Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi’s closing concert.  

The games saw more than 7,500 athletes from 190 nations compete in 24 officially sanctioned Olympic-style sports geared toward athletes with intellectual disabilities.

“Tonight, I got to go out into the stadium and hang amongst some of the amazing athletes that competed at the @worldgamesad this week. Over 7000 phenomenal humans with intellectual disabilities (or as I call them, super abilities)… came together in Abu Dhabi to battle it out through sports. My love and admiration of this organization is almost selfish — the joy and inspiration spending time with them brings me restores my faith in humanity time and time again. Athletes, you are of such determination, power, SUPERPOWERS, strength, grace, humility and pure LOVE! Congratulations to all of the incredible talent that competed and celebrated with us tonight,” the star posted on Instagram after her show.

According to the organizers, singer and songwriter Scherzinger has a personal connection with the Special Olympics due to her close relationship with her aunt, who has Down syndrome.

“She is such a positive influence and inspiration for me,” Scherzinger told the UK’s Metro newspaper in 2013. “People get caught up in everyday little problems and in their own vanity and Keziah is always happy and there to give you love and a hug no matter what. She’s a big walking ball of love – she inspires me to be happy, help others and be more grateful.”