The Yale Program in Iranian Studies Afghan History: Past, Present and Future series presents:
James Tharin Bradford, Professor of History, Berklee College of Music: “Poppies as Power: The History of Drugs, Diplomacy, and 20th Century Afghanistan.”
Historians have long neglected Afghanistan’s broader history when portraying the opium industry. In his talk, James Tharin Bradford will rebalance the discourse, showing that it is not the past forty years of lawlessness that makes the opium industry what it is, but the sheer breadth of the twentieth-century Afghanistan experience. Rather than byproducts of a failed contemporary system, drugs – especially opium – were critical components in the formation and failure of the Afghan state.
Bradford will explore how the country moved from licit supply of the global opium trade to one of the major suppliers of hashish and opium through changes in drug control policy shaped largely by the United States. By weaving together a global history of the drug trade and drug policy with the formation of the Afghan state and issues within Afghan political culture, Bradford recasts the current Afghan, and global, drug trade.
James Tharin Bradford is Assistant Professor of History at Berklee College of Music, and Adjunct Lecturer at Babson College. His book, Poppies, Politics, and Power: Afghanistan and the Global History of Drugs and Diplomacy, will be released in June 2019 by Cornell University Press. He has published in the Journal of Iranian Studies, Oxford University Handbook of Drug History, and Illegal Cannabis Cultivation in the World. He teaches on the history of the global illicit drug trade and addiction, with an emphasis on Afghanistan and US foreign policy.