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Distinguished Professor (Ph.D., University of Chicago, 1985) and Department Chair

Curriculum vitae

Office: SBS N-319


Interests: Modern Latin America, Andes, economic-social history, drug history, commodities

My research and graduate training interests span most of modern Latin America, with special strengths in Andean and Mexican history and in questions of historical sociology. My current writing centers around the history of drug commodities, especially Andean cocaine as a global drug.  I am also interested in historical dimensions of Latin American inequalities. In the first part of my career, I wrote largely about nineteenth-century Peru—its economic and social history, state formation, political economy, and the history of economic ideas. I was trained as an interdisciplinary historian at Chicago and Oxford, and I maintain this broad interest in social science and historical practice, including an affiliated appointment in Sociology at Stony Brook. I helped to establish our innovative interdepartmental workshop, the Initiative in Historical Social Sciences (IHSS), and serve as a coordinator of the monthly New York Latin American History Workshop, which brings together students and faculty from Columbia, NYU, CUNY and Stony Brook. I am also active in a number of interdisciplinary research programs at the (Brooklyn-based) Social Science Research Council (SSRC).


• HIS 421: Drugs in History
• HIS 554: Commodity Histories and Global Capitalism


"A Forgotten Case of 'Scientific Excellence on the Periphery': The Nationalist Cocaine Science of Alfredo Bignon, 1884–1887"
"Cocaine's Long March North, 1900–2010" 
"Toward a New Drug History of Latin America: A Research Frontier at the Center of Debates"
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