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A Global History of Drugs in Modern South Asia
Graduate Program (& Advanced Certificate) Status
Undergraduate Program Status
Course Description

This course introduces students to the history of drugs in South Asia and beyond and covers the period from the eighteenth to the twenty-first century. We define drugs as psychoactive substances – a broad definition that includes so called narcotics such as cocaine, opium or cannabis as well as alcohol, tobacco or caffeine. The history of the production and consumption of these substances is worthy of being studied in its own right. However, drug histories also serve as windows into the wider social and economic history of a region. While the regional focus of this course lies on South Asia it aims to embed the drug histories of that region in a global context.

Course Requirements and Grading 

Attendance: You can miss max. 2 session

 Participation: Please participate actively in class. This is a graduate seminar. We’re here to debate.

 Presentation: Each student has to give one presentation based on a week’s reading.

 Reading Response: Post three responses to the reading in the “Forum: Reading Response” on our Moodle page. Find quotes from the reading and analyze them in light of the overarching theme of this course.

 Essay: By the end of the semester you have to submit a longer essay (2000 words). This essay has to be based on literature not discussed in class.


 1) Class participation (15%)

2) Presentation (20%)
3) Reading Responses (20%)
4) Essay II (45%)

Course Level
Academic Year
US Credits
ECTS Credits
Course Code