age of intoxication 3d cover

This is a book about how the concept of drugs and the nature of the drug trade changed in the seventeenth century–and about how these changes, in turn, shaped the course of empires, and influenced the ways that natural philosophers, healers, religious leaders, and patients in the Atlantic world and beyond thought about health, the body, and the mind. From the sickly sweet tobacco that helped finance the African slave trade to the intoxicating hashish that East Indies merchants sold to the natural philosopher Robert Hooke in one of the earliest European coffeehouses, drugs have been entangled with both science and empire from the very beginning.

The figures central to the first half of the book are soldiers, missionaries, merchants and slaves in the Portuguese colonial empire. The second part builds upon the legacy of the Anglo-Portuguese alliance of 1662, arguing that the drive to amass drug-related knowledge and materials during the Enlightenment forged new links between British natural philosophers and the Iberian empires. The Age of Intoxication rethinks a history of drugs that has too often been framed as binaries—between medicinal and recreational, legal and illegal, foreign and familiar. 

The Age of Intoxication: Origins of the Global Drug Trade will be released on December 20 by the University of Pennsylvania Press.

Pre-order it here: Penn Press, Amazon, Indiebound.


Table of contents

Introduction. At the Statue of Adamastor

Part I. Inventions of Drugs
Chapter 1. Searching for Drugs: Inventing Quina in Seventeenth-Century Amazonia
Chapter 2. Selling Drugs: Early Modern Apothecaries and the Limits of Commodification
Chapter 3. Fetishizing Drugs: Feitiçaria, Healing, and Intoxication in West Central Africa

Part II. Altered States
Chapter 4. Occult Qualities: British Natural Philosophers and Portuguese Drugs
Chapter 5. Uses of Intoxication in the Enlightenment
Chapter 6. Three Ways of Looking at Opium

Conclusion. Drug Pasts and Futures


Read an excerpt here or advance praise for the book here.