The Dope: The Real History of the Mexican Drug Trade

Oct 6, 2022
4 - 5:30pm EDT
This event is free

Who can attend?

  • General public
  • Faculty
  • Staff
  • Students

Contact

Latin American, Caribbean, and Latinx Studies Program

Description

Benjamin Smith, a professor of history at the University of Warwick, will give a talk titled "The Dope: The Real History of the Mexican Drug Trade," presented by the Program in Latin American, Caribbean, and Latinx Studies, followed by a Q&A with Laura Wadsten and Christy Thornton. The event is co-sponsored by Medicine, Science and the Humanities and International Studies.

Smith will discuss his new book, a myth-busting, 100-year history of the Mexican drug trade that reveals how an industry founded by farmers and village healers became dominated by cartels and kingpins.

The Mexican drug trade has inspired prejudiced narratives of a war between north and south, white and brown; between noble cops and vicious kingpins, corrupt politicians and powerful cartels. In this first comprehensive history of the trade, historian Smith tells the real story of how and why this one-peaceful industry turned violent. He uncovers its origins and explains how this illicit business essentially built modern Mexico, affecting everything from agriculture to medicine to economics—and the country's all-important relationship with the U.S. Drawing on unprecedented archival research; leaked DEA, Mexican law enforcement, and cartel documents; and dozens of harrowing interviews, Smith tells a thrilling story brimming with vivid characters—from Ignacia "La Nacha" Jasso, "queen pin" of Ciudad Ju├írez, to Dr. Leopoldo Salazar Viniegra, the crusading physician who argued that marijuana was harmless and tried to decriminalize morphine, to Harry Anslinger, the Machiavellian founder of the American Federal Bureau of Narcotics, who drummed up racist drug panics to increase his budget. Smith also profiles everyday agricultural workers, whose stories reveal both the economic benefits and the human cost of the trade.

Who can attend?

  • General public
  • Faculty
  • Staff
  • Students

Contact

Latin American, Caribbean, and Latinx Studies Program