Universität Wien
Achtung! Das Lehrangebot ist noch nicht vollständig und wird bis Semesterbeginn laufend ergänzt.

070295 SE Seminar - Drugs and Empires (2021S)

8.00 ECTS (2.00 SWS), SPL 7 - Geschichte
Prüfungsimmanente Lehrveranstaltung


Hinweis: Ihr Anmeldezeitpunkt innerhalb der Frist hat keine Auswirkungen auf die Platzvergabe (kein "first come, first served").


max. 25 Teilnehmer*innen
Sprache: Englisch


Termine (iCal) - nächster Termin ist mit N markiert


Mittwoch 17.03. 13:00 - 15:30 Digital
Mittwoch 24.03. 13:00 - 15:30 Digital
Mittwoch 14.04. 13:00 - 15:30 Digital
Mittwoch 21.04. 13:00 - 15:30 Digital
Mittwoch 28.04. 13:00 - 15:30 Digital
Mittwoch 05.05. 13:00 - 15:30 Digital
Mittwoch 12.05. 13:00 - 15:30 Digital
Mittwoch 19.05. 13:00 - 15:30 Digital
Mittwoch 09.06. 13:15 - 15:45 Hörsaal 5 Hauptgebäude, Tiefparterre Stiege 9 Hof 5


Ziele, Inhalte und Methode der Lehrveranstaltung

Throughout human history drugs have played a major role in the political economy and culture of empires. Their production, trade and consumption have been important constituents of the relations between centres and peripheries within empires and a major source of the extraction and accumulation of value. The seminar intends to investigate this relationship between the production, distribution and consumption of drugs and the constitution of empires on a global scale in a wide historical perspective spanning from antiquity to the present.

In this seminar, we define drugs as naturally occurring substances that have been consumed by almost every society in history for their mind- or mood-altering properties. This broad definition thus not only includes narcotics like opium, cocaine or heroin, but all kinds of alcohol as well as tobacco, sugar, tea, cacao and coffee. Empires are seen as polities with political and military dominion of populations who are culturally and ethnically distinct from the imperial ethnic group and its culture. They extend relations of hegemony over territorial spaces for the purpose of extracting and centralizing value. This definition includes formal as well as informal empires.

After several sessions of intense reading and input, students are required to deliver a research proposal by 12 May 2021. In our last two sessions (19 May and 9 June 2021) students present the drafts of their seminar papers (at least 50% of the final paper). The final papers are due on 30 September 2021.

Possible research topics include (among others):

- Greek colonization of the Mediterranean area and the diffusion of viticulture
- Wine and the Roman Empire
- Beer and the merchant empire of the Hansa
- Coffee and Islamic Empires
- Sugar and the Atlantic plantation complex
- Tobacco and the Atlantic plantation complex
- Brandy and the Castilian Empire
- Vodka and the Russian Empire
- Tea and the British Empire
- Opium and the British Empire
- Cacao and the colonization of Africa
- Cocaine and US imperialism in Latin America
- Heroin in Afghanistan, the Golden Triangle and War in Southeast Asia
- War on Drugs and the informal US empire

Art der Leistungskontrolle und erlaubte Hilfsmittel


1) Active participation (10%)
2) Oral Presentation (10%)
3) Regular written assignments (15%)
4) Presentation of a draft of the seminar paper (15%)
5) Final Seminar paper, 15 pages (50%)

Mindestanforderungen und Beurteilungsmaßstab

- you can miss max. 2 classes
- you have to hand in the assignments and the final seminar paper
- you have to present the draft of your seminar paper



David Courtwright, Forces of Habit. Drugs and the Making of the Modern World. Harvard University Press (2001).

Paul Gootenberg (ed.), Cocaine. Global Histories. Routledge (1999).

Stephen Howe, Empire. A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press (2002).

Sidney Mintz, Sweetness and Power. The Place of Sugar in Modern History. Penguin Books (1985).

Carl Trocki, Opium, Empire and the Global Political Economy. Routledge (1999).

Immanuel Wallerstein and Terence K. Hopkins, ‘Commodity Chains in the World-Economy Prior to 1800’, in: Immanuel Wallerstein, The Essential Wallerstein. The New Press (2000).

Zuordnung im Vorlesungsverzeichnis

MA Geschichte: Globalgeschichte
MA Globalgeschichte (8 ECTS)
MEd-LA GSP: UF MA GSP 01 Fachwissenschaft (6 ECTS)

Letzte Änderung: Fr 12.05.2023 00:14