A Perfect Partnership: Gun Smugglers and Drug Traffickers:

The fallout from Operation Fast and Furious has demonstrated the desperation of the U.S. government to deal with the flows of drugs and drug violence from Mexico.   At the heart of Operation Fast and Furious are guns: AK-47s, AR-15s, FN Five-sevens, and AK variants that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF)Continue reading “A Perfect Partnership: Gun Smugglers and Drug Traffickers:”

Anti Vice Returns

A group of about 50 scholars met in early April at the idyllic Centro Stefano Franscini Conference Center at Monte Verità, over-looking Lake Maggiore in Ascona, Switzerland, to explore the enticing  topic of Global Anti-Vice Activism in the late 19th and early 20th century—Fighting Drink, Drugs, and Venereal Diseases.   The conference suggested a revival ofContinue reading “Anti Vice Returns”

The Points Interview: James Simpson

Editor’s Note:  The Points Interview feature rolls on, as we awaken from our slumber to present the twenty-third outstanding book in the series.  Today’s post features James Simpson, author of Creating Wine: The Emergence of a World Industry, 1840-1914 (Princeton University Press, 2011).  Simpson is professor of economic history and institutions at the Carlos IIIContinue reading “The Points Interview: James Simpson”

The Mule

In 2004, the role of women as mules entered the popular imagination with the release of the film Maria Full of Grace that depicts the life of a young Colombian woman who swallows cocaine and smuggles it into the United States  She passes through the port of entry at New York City’s John F. KennedyContinue reading “The Mule”

St. Patrick’s Day and Temperance: An Unlikely Duo?

Editor’s Note: For Points readers getting  a head start on their St. Patrick’s day observances this year, we are pleased to present a thoughtful historicization of this generally most unthoughtful of holidays by Mike McLaughlin of Carleton University.  Drawing on research from his dissertation-in-progress, “Imperial Citizens: Irish Catholic Middle-Class Culture in Colonial Canada, 1855-1902,” it willContinue reading “St. Patrick’s Day and Temperance: An Unlikely Duo?”

When Drugs Were Legal in Mexico

We’re pleased to bring Points readers this short historical piece from Froylan Enciso, journalist and doctoral candidate in the Department of History, SUNY-Stony Brook, where he is working on a dissertation that explores the history of drugs in Sinaloa.    A native of Mazatlán, Sinaloa, Froy Enciso previously studied international relations at El Colegio de México (1998-2002).  He’sContinue reading “When Drugs Were Legal in Mexico”

Call for Papers: Wine Culture in the Transnational World

For its 2012 annual conference, the Centre for Diaspora & Transnational Studies at the University of Toronto presents “Foodways, Diasporic Diners, Transnational Tables, and Culinary Connections,” Thursday October 4 – Sunday, October 7, 2012. Panel Description: “Wine Culture in the Transnational World” I am interested in showcasing work that introduces critical concepts to the studyContinue reading “Call for Papers: Wine Culture in the Transnational World”

Herding Khat

On January 11th the  BBC reported that the Netherlands government would ban the use of khat—the mild, leaf-based stimulant produced largely in East Africa.  The ban came as something as a surprise, given the liberal Dutch approach to cannabis and the ubiquity of “Coffee Shops” selling joints in Amsterdam and other Dutch cities.  Why thisContinue reading “Herding Khat”

Drugs and Discovery: An Early Modern Perspective, Part II

Editor’s Note: Last week historian Matthew Crawford argued against the overdetermined notions of “discovery” and “invention,” and called instead for a palimpsestic understanding of the plant-derived drugs that appeared courtesy of transatlantic encounters.  Today, he takes his thinking further, looking for the earliest–and persistent– traces of the presence of cinchona bark in the pharmacopoeias ofContinue reading “Drugs and Discovery: An Early Modern Perspective, Part II”

Conference Details: Multidisciplinary Approaches to the Study of Religion and Plants, 15-17 December, 2011

Editor’s Note: Points readers who have followed our coverage this fall of ayahuasca, mushrooms, and other psychoactive plants will be excited to learn the details of the first annual conference sponsored by the Working Group on Plants and Religion at the University of Florida, which will take place next week (15-17 Dec.).  As we notedContinue reading “Conference Details: Multidisciplinary Approaches to the Study of Religion and Plants, 15-17 December, 2011”

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