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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, drug and commodity history, Andes, Mexico, historical social science

I am mostly known, at this stage of my career, as a historian of illicit drugs.  I have published three books on Andean and global cocaine, notably Andean Cocaine: The Making of a Global Drug (UNC Press, 2008), and, most recently, edited with Stony Brook biologist Liliana Dávalos, The Origins of Cocaine: Colonization and Failed Development in the Amazon Andes  (Routledge, 2018).  My methodological and geographic interests are expanding across drug history, as editor of the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of Global Drug History (2020) and president-elect of the Alcohol and Drugs History Society (ADHS).  Originally trained as an interdisciplinary Latin Americanist at Oxford and Chicago, my early works focused on political economy, economic ideas, and state formation in nineteenth-century Peru. Co-founder of Stony Brook’s decade-long Initiative in Historical Social Science (IHSS), I hold an Affiliated appointment in Sociology and still dabble in historical sociology.  Outside Stony Brook, I have worked as chair of various programs at the Social Science Research Council in Brooklyn, including the Drugs, Security, and Democracy (SSRC-DSD) program, and am currently co-sponsor of the Drug Policy Foundation’s monthly NYC Drug Researchers Roundtable.


•  HIS 421: Drugs in History

•  HIS 554: Commodity Histories and Global Capitalism


"‘Chicken or eggs?’: Rethinking illicit drugs and ′Development’" International Journal of Drug Policy. 2020

"A Long Strange Trip: Latin America's Contribution to World Drug Culture"

"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"