The Global Drug Trade
This course examines addictive substances as a global commodity, tracing their impact on issues of race, empire, and inequality. Beginning with the opium wars of the nineteenth century and concluding with narco violence in present-day Mexico, students will gain an understanding of the various impacts of the drug trade on the modern world. Beyond simple issues of criminality and policing, transnational flows of licit and illicit drugs shape how societies interact with one another and reveal persistent power imbalances. During the course, students will be introduced to an extensive and surprising cast of characters - from imperial administrators to Colombian drug lords; CIA agents to Central American villagers; mafia dons to pharmaceutical sales reps.