Symposium: Drugs, Politics and Society in the Global South

iran spring 2014 096 1

Convener: Maziyar Ghiabi

Speakers: Dennis Rodgers (Amsterdam), Gernot Klantschnig (York), Giulia Zocatelli (King's College London), Isaac Campos (Cincinnati), James Mills (Strathclyde), James Windle (East London), Maziyar Ghiabi (Oxford), Neil Carrier (Oxford), Orkideh Behrouzan (King's College London), Pablo Seward (Stanford), Saeyoung Park (Leiden), Anais Medeiros Passos (Sciences Po)

More than ever, the issue of drugs and debates around drug policy have become relevant to the political debate across the globe. Leaders and civil society organisations in many countries have voiced support for a ‘regime change’ in drug control policy; in several instances, ground-breaking reforms have been introduced or are for the first time being seriously considered by national parliaments and governments. Drugs, hence, have become more than a niche territory for anti-narcotic officials and medical practitioners; they occupy an especial place in the analysis of political, social and historical phenomena and are the object of study of different disciplines. As such, they also remain substantially, interdisciplinary.

From the use of stimulant drugs during the open-ended revolts of the ‘Arab Spring’, the establishment of harm reduction policies in Iran, to the legalisation process in Uruguay, and decriminalisation in Portugal, drug policy is living an academic momentum without precedents. The issue of drugs has gained an especial place in the domestic, transnational and international context, with trajectories that could be innovative and potentially influential on the global scenario.

The two-day symposium intends to tackle the issue of drugs through an interdisciplinary, multi-sited approach, which is also peculiar to the tradition of St Antony’s College and the Department of Politics and International Relations. The objective is to bring together scholars whose interest in drug politics, sensu lato, and area expertise can contribute to triggering meaningful comparative debate. By focusing on several themes in two days, this would allow a comprehensive discussion of major aspects of drug policy in the Global South. One major contribution of this symposium would be to discuss the issue of drugs in those regions, which have often been left out of the drug policy debate. Apart from scholars working on Latin American drug politics, the events will include participation of scholars working on drugs in the Middle East, Africa and East Asia.

The event is open to the public and will take place in the InvestCorp Auditorium on October 26-27, 2016.


Wednesday 26 October

9.30-10.15am Registration, tea & coffee

10.15-10.30am Introduction

10.45am-12.45pm Panel 1: Genealogies & Assemblages of Drug Policy

'Excavating an East Asian Genealogy of Drugs' Saeyoung Park (Leiden University)

'Assembling the Drug Paradox: a Genealogy of Drug Politics in Iran' Maziyar Ghiabi (Oxford University)

'Drug War Violence in the Context of Drug Addiction and Treatment: The Case of Anexos in Mexico City and Fumones in the Upper Huallaga Valley, Peru' Pablo Seward (Stanford University) & Angela Garcia (Stanford University)

1.00-2.00pm Lunch

2.00-4.00pm Panel 2: Crime, Violence and the State

'Drug booms and busts: Poverty, prosperity, and violence in a Nicaraguan narco-barrio' Dennis Rodgers (Amsterdam University)

'Explaining Nigeria's War on Drugs: Domestic Exclusion and International Reputation' Gernot Klantschnig (York University)

'Drugs, Prohibition and the Military: a local approach from the city of Rio de Janeiro (2008-2015)' Anais Medeiros Passos (Sciences Po, Paris)

4.00-4.30pm Tea

4.30-6.30pm Panel 3: Psyche, Movement and Time

'Quasilegality: Khat, Cannibis and Africa's Drug Laws' Neil Carrier (Oxford University)

'Turning cool kids into outlaws: legal fictions and the management of heroin abuse in post-socialist China' Giulia Zocatelli (King's College, London)

'Medicating memory: an anthropology perspective' Orkideh Behrouzan (King's College, London)

Thursday 27 October

9.45-10.15am Tea and coffee

10.15am-12.15pm Panel 4: History, Politics and Prohibition

'US Imperialism and Mexican Drug Policy, 1912-1920: A Reassessment' Isaac Campos (University of Cincinnati)

'Decolonising Drugs in Asia: Twenty-first century histories' James Mills (Strathclyde University)

'Why stop farmers from farming? Motivations for national opium suppression interventions' James Windle (East London University)

1.00-2.00pm Lunch

2.00-4.00pm Roundtable: Challenges, Obstacles and Reforms in Local and Global Drug Policy

'Uruguay's Marijuana Reform Plan' Jonas von Hoffmann (Oxford University)

'UN General Assembly Special Session on Drugs in perspective' Juan Fernandez Ochoa (International Drug Policy Consortium)

'Youth and Drug Policy Reform' Kelly Parra Alba (Students for Sensible Drug Policy)

4.00-4.30pm Closing Remarks

4.30-5.30pm Reception


For further information, please contact Maziyar


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